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Music Reviews : Paris-based Group Performs At Usc

February 11, 1986|JOHN HENKEN

Compared to the attention given forthcoming concerts by the full Paris-based Ensemble InterContemporain at UCLA this week, the Sunday afternoon program by members of the group at the Schoenberg Institute, USC, was decidedly underpublicized. Built around the talents of violinist Maryvonne Ledizes-Richard, the compact agenda offered both modern classics and unfamiliar pieces.

The newest work on the agenda, Ligeti's Trio (1984), was the only one to involve hornist Jacques Deleplancque other than as a page-turner. With Ledizes-Richard and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, he gave a bravura performance of this very difficult--and very surprising--music.

Surprising, at least, for anyone associating Ligeti solely with clusters and dense blocks of sound or electronic compositions. Although timbre, texture and the way the instrumental sounds combine are important elements of his Trio, Ligeti here is much more than usually concerned with linear, melodic developments.

The results, cast in four movements of almost neo-classical form, are imposing intellectually and emotionally harrowing. The players urged the music with both passion and precision, and a fair degree of sonic overkill.

Overplaying this room is routine for visiting musicians. Ledizes-Richard and Aimard opened with big, aggressive sound in Messiaen's early Theme and Variations. The theme is simply an extended, stentorian presentation of the basic pitch material, but the variations quickly add rhythmic and textural interest.

The slow movement of Ives' Fourth Violin Sonata, "Children's Day at the Camp Meeting," revealed that delicacy was not impossible, just elusive. And one imagines that Ives at least might have liked the plainness of the other movements.

Ledizes-Richard and Aimard also treated Schoenberg's "Phantasy" with straightforward skill and conviction. The violinist placed more emphasis on interpretive nuance in Berio's Sequenza VIII, handling the well-nigh exhaustive technical challenges easily, while giving it purposeful shape and direction.

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