Chamber groups, good ones, are a dime a dozen, but the Galliard Ensemble--a Canadian quartet of flute, violin, viola and cello--is outstanding. In its recital at the Organization of American States last night, as part of this year's Inter-American Festival, the quartet brought warmth, energy and agility to an engaging a collection of pieces.
The program was short but satisfying, matching the rather serious and broadly conceived "Fantasia for String Trio" by Irving Fine, with the brightly colored and sophisticated "Assobio a Jato" by Villa-Lobos and the fanciful and episodic "Mobiles" by Andre' Pre'vost.
These pieces shared a freshness, unhampered by the self-conscious nationalism that often leaves its mark on this hemisphere's music. They are all beautifully crafted and, although conservative, are couched in well-defined personal idioms.
Cellist Warren Lash and flutist Robert Bick collaborated with particular eloquence in the Villa-Lobos piece, which relies for its effect on a sharing of the spotlight. The two artists play with enormous, generous tones. Their athletic prowess is awesome and this piece, which at its conclusion imitates a jet whistle, called on every bit of their technical arsenal.
The concert opened with Marjan Mozetich's "Fantasia sul Linguaggio Perduto."