Along with overplayed pieces by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven, one of the cliches that make Hollywood Bowl the beloved institution it is remains Joaquin Rodrigo's irrepressible "Concierto de Aranjuez," the work that made the Spanish composer famous, more than 47 years ago.
The familiar concerto for guitar and orchestra came back to the Bowl Wednesday night, this time courtesy of Christopher Parkening, who played it with a small ensemble from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Heiichiro Ohyama. The resulting and splendid performance reminded us that cliches can still shine.
Fresh and polished, and informed by gentle bounce and sparkling clarity, this reading reinstated the joys in Rodrigo's colorful work without at any point exaggerating them. Parkening's controlled virtuosity articulated the solo part crisply and bracingly, and Ohyama, now one of the Philharmonic's two assistant conductors, proved again an alert and considerate musical partner.
The pre-intermission portion of this evening also found all participants in affectionate fettle. At the beginning, after a slow, impassioned National Anthem, Ohyama presided over a poised and probing account of Faure's Suite from the Incidental Music to "Pelleas et Melisande."