There's no doubt about conductor Edward Polochick's knack for building an interesting program. In Friedberg Hall on Saturday night, he and his Concert Artists of Baltimore (a chamber orchestra and chorus) performed important, but rarely heard, works by Barber, Honegger, Vaughan Williams and Dvorak.
And there's no doubt about Polochick's musical talent. The performance that he and his choristers gave of Vaughan Williams' Mass in G Minor for unaccompanied chorus was excellent: every entrance secure, the musical line smooth, each phrase filled with feeling and the ensemble tight.
But if Polochick is at his best when he is in front of a chorus, he can be erratic when he is in front of an orchestra. The worst moments in Saturday's concert came in the slow movement of Dvorak's "Czech Suite." The orchestra's string tone was sour, the wind playing was riddled with errors (several players consistently overblew their instruments) and the rhythm was sodden. Unfortunately, most of the concert was closer in quality to the Dvorak than it was to the Vaughan Williams.