The inaugural music festival Mozart in the South opened Thursday night with a chamber music concert of Mozart and Haydn at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Charleston.
Serenading us back into a season of live, classical music, after the silence of the summer, 14 of some of the Southeast's finest instrumentalists reminded us how rich and varied chamber music can be, even with two composers who lived and worked alongside each other.
Mozart's three-movement Flute Quartet in A Major set forth a sweetness and gentility to the beginning of the evening as the violin, viola and cello balanced the flute as solo instrument.
Haydn's "Rider" String Quartet followed, and served as a folksier contrast to the elegance of the Mozart selection.
The exceptional musicianship of violinist Amos Lawrence's pensive and reverent treatment of the second movement was one of the most moving moments of the evening.
Just as there was variety and richness between Mozart and Haydn, there was a wonderful contrast between Mozart's Serenade No. 11 in E-Flat Major, offered as the final selection, and the earlier Flute Quartet.
The unusual orchestration of two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons, along with Mozart's treatment of it, was a celebration of the three remaining days of the festival that are to follow.
For tickets and information on the rest of the festival, which also will feature the Mozart in the South Festival Orchestra, go to www.ChamberMusicCharleston.org.