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Music Reviews : Parkening With Ensemble At Bowl

July 24, 1987|DANIEL CARIAGA | Times Music Writer

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."

Parkening then joined the four dozen Philharmonic musicians for a stylish, handsomely balanced reading of Vivaldi's Concerto in D, R. 93. The American guitarist's subsequent solo group included pieces by Sanz, Albeniz and Sor. At the end of the evening, Parkening's encores were: an arrangement of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man(s Desiring"; an anonymous Spanish ballad, as arranged by Jack Marshall, and "Romance of the Pine," by Torroba.

Throughout, the Bowl's current amplification system worked so unobtrusively, one's interest could be concentrated almost entirely on the performances themselves. But there were bonuses in the fact that, first, outside noises distracted very little during this event, and, second, the Virtuoso Series audience (counted at 8,654 by the management) properly refrained from applauding between movements.

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