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Schneider Leads L.a. Chamber Group

January 24, 1986|MARC SHULGOLD

The vast majority of Vivaldi's 500 or so concertos do little more than start here and end there in fairly predictable fashion.

So why did the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by Alexander Schneider, present a full program of six concertos by "The Red Priest" at Ambassador Auditorium on Wednesday?

Good question. The evening proved a relentless procession of fast-slow-fast three-movement concertos--with orchestra members as soloists--for bassoon (Kenneth Munday, suavely virtuosic), piccolo (Susan Greenberg, breath-taking and sometimes breathless), two violins (Ralph Morrison and Harold Wolf, spirited, if not always in perfect blend) and oboe (Allan Vogel, expressive and committed). A pair of string-orchestra concertos served as bookends.

Schneider, the former Budapest Quartet violinist, looked spry (at 77) as he merrily jerked and jabbed and bent his way through the scores, working without benefit of a podium.

Special attention should be paid the continuo of Patricia Mabee (harpsichord) and Douglas Davis (cello) as well as the ensemble strings: They had every right to read through these trifles with all the involvement of a Las Vegas lounge band doing "Feelings" at four in the morning.

Perhaps it was Schneider's energetic leadership, perhaps it was the players' professionalism. In any case, the repetitive accompaniments were handled in exemplary and often inspired fashion. The opening and closing string concertos were dashed off with polish and panache.

Speaking of repetition, the same forces will play the same program at Bridges Hall of Music in Claremont tonight.

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