Brilliant ABT; Cleveland Quartet; limping 'Hypochondriac'; Pro Arte

Pro Arte - a flawed gem Perhaps it was the overheated hall or the midseason blahs. The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra is one of Boston's musical gems, but its performance at Sanders Theatre last week was less than satisfying.

The evening opened with the world premiere of Per-Erik Johansson's ''Furdus-trandir'' (''The Amazing or Marvelous Shores''). Nothing could have been more Scandinavian than this colorful work, whose program and music call to mind the ominous mysteries of Sibelius.

Although the performance had a certain cogency, the skimpy string complement stripped the orchestra of a necessary richness.

Clarinetist Harold Wright provided relief with concertinos by Weber and Busoni. After a deft but incisive handling of the Weber piece, Mr. Wright displayed a mastery of the cool colors of the Busoni.

But the rendering of Mendels-sohn's Third Symphony proved lack-luster. The strings spilled out the 6/8s of the first movement carelessly, and most of the lyrical work was perfunctory.

The season isn't over yet, and one hopes for a return to Pro Arte's normally high standards.

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