PARK CITY/SALT LAKE CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Park City Community Church, Aug. 10

For its final concert this summer, the Park City/Salt Lake City Music Festival brought out two major works — Cesar Franck's Violin Sonata in A major and Johannes Brahms's Piano Quartet in C minor, op. 60.

The highlight of Monday's concert was the Franck sonata, played by violinist Charles Castleman and pianist Doris Stevenson.

One of the great violin sonatas of the late 19th century, and one of the very few written by a French composer (although Franck was Belgian by birth, he spent his life in Paris), the A major Sonata is symphonic in scope.

Written for Eugene Ysa?e, it's an ambitious work, and it delivers quite a punch when played by the right violinist. And Castleman is certainly the right one. There is hardly anyone better to take this work on and deliver a dynamic performance. And pairing him with Stevenson was a stroke of good fortune. Her rich, sonorous playing matched Castleman's and captured the lushness of the score.

The opening Allegretto is quite langorous, and the duo's seamless playing brought a freedom of expression that gave this movement definition and character. It was wonderfully crafted and executed.

The two middle movements are much bolder than the first, and the two played the second movement Allegro broadly but without missing any of the drama and intensity, while the Recitativo-Fantasia was played with dramatic flair that nevertheless didn't ovelook the intimacy of the music with its finely crafted interplay between the two instruments.

This interplay carries over into the closing Allegretto, and Castleman and Stevenson brought some delightful lyricism to their account that underscored the expressiveness and fluidity of the music.

Stevenson returned for the Brahms quartet and was joined by violinist Manuel Ramos, violist Leslie Harlow and cellist Thomas Landschoot. They gave a glorious reading of this work that was warm, mellow and sonorous. It was the perfect sound, and while the foursome brought wonderful richness to the score they nevertheless still captured its drama, passion and restless drive and energy. It was a stunningly musical and perceptive reading of the quartet.

Of particular note was Landschoot's beautiful playing in duet with Stevenson that opened the Andante. He brought wonderful expressiveness to his playing that was mirrored by Ramos when he joined the two. This is a gorgeously mellifluous movement, and the foursome's interpretation was magnificent in the way it flowed with lyrical grace and subtle poignancy.

The concert opened with clarinetist Russell Harlow, joined by the four string players, in Gerald Finzi's Five Bagatelles.

Originally written for clarinet and piano, it was arranged for clarinet and string quartet by the publisher and it actually works much better in this version.

These are delightfully lyrical pieces, and Harlow and the quartet captured this nicely with their expressive playing.

The charm of this work lies in its simplicity and unpretentiousness, and with Harlow in charge the five brought this out with their nuanced reading that didn't miss any of the subtleties of the score.

e-mail: ereichel@desnews.com