Mozart 2, Prokofiev 1. At its Sunday afternoon concert at Merrill Auditorium, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, under Robert Moody and concert master Charles Dimmick, demonstrated that there’s no substitute for the real thing.

There were outstanding performances of the Mozart Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, No. 3 in G Major (K. 216), with Dimmick as soloist and conductor, and the great Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major (K. 543) and a not-so-outstanding rendition of Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony, No. 1, Op. 25.

The Prokofiev Symphony, in the style of Haydn, which began the program, is a masterpiece in its own right, but it suffered from over-analysis. There was an admirable effort to delineate the individual parts that make up Prokofiev’s complex symphonic texture, but it detracted from the ensemble it requires to make its sardonic points. The audience should not be able to see what the magician is doing, just be aware that something is not quite right.

Christopher Hyde’s Classical Beat column appears in the Maine Sunday Telegram. He can be reached at:

classbeat@netscape.net