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Music Review : L.a. Chamber Orchestra At Ambassador

March 18, 1985|MARC SHULGOLD

Though Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra music director Gerard Schwarz recently garnered headlines with his announced intentions to leave his post at the end of next season, the orchestra's concert at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday clearly belonged to the soloist--Maurice Andre.

In a rare local appearance (and his first orchestral date in recent memory) the French trumpeter displayed his customary brilliance of tone and technique. But he also won all hearts with an irresistibly buoyant, truly charmant stage manner. He tapped his feet, he raised and lowered those wonderful bushy eyebrows with every orchestral climax and he could not resist secretly beating time.

All this for two vehicles that barely taxed him: the overplayed Haydn Concerto and a slight Sonate de Concert by Telemann.

For all its familiarity, Haydn's concerto has rarely sounded so fresh in Andre's hands. His tone here was all velvet. (Surprisingly, he resorted to the score.)

With extraordinarily sympathetic support from Schwarz--an ex-trumpeter himself--the concerto proved the hit of the evening. It was nearly eclipsed, however, by an arrangement of the devilish "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's "Zauberfloete," played as a pre-intermission encore.

The Telemann proved an anti-climax, though it did spotlight Andre's lightning-fast trills. A solo piece by Claude Gervaise was played in encore.

Schwarz completed the program with polished, spirited readings of Bach's Fourth Orchestra Suite and five excerpts from Mendelssohn's incidental music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

One could fault Schwarz for a rushed reading of the Mendelssohn that merely skimmed the top of this rich score. However, gratitude must be given the conductor (a recently married man) for his decision to skip that played-to-death Wedding March.

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