Energy is a component of all music worth listening to. For some music and some performers, it is potential energy that one is most aware of, the inevitability of a harmonic resolution or the irresistibility of the shape of a phrase. For the eight Musicians From Marlboro and their performance of music by Shostakovich, Mozart and Mendelssohn at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater on Saturday, it was a reveling in the kinetic energy of the music that made their playing so enjoyable.
They chose the perfect music for this. Shostakovich's Opus 11, "Two Pieces for String Octet" is a perfect orgy of opulent colors and frenzied action. The ensemble took it on with enthusiasm and the sort of joyful abandon that, when so well-controlled, can be enormously pleasing.
Mendelssohn's youthful Octet, orchestral in its sonorities, is another piece that depends more on motion than anything else for its impact. First violinist Pamela Frank, playing with extraordinary incisiveness and a wonderful palate of colors, projected easily over the big ensemble sound.
The Mozart C Major String Quintet, K. 515, might have been a little more reflective. It was lighthearted instead, and inner voices that usually stay in the background emerged clearly, all of which was enjoyable if not particularly memorable.