After a lusterless, dispiriting first half, conductor Larry Granger turned around the season-opening program of the South Coast Symphony at Orange Coast College on Saturday to make a persuasive case for taking the orchestra seriously and listening to it with some pleasure.
As it was last year, the significant vehicle was a Dvorak symphony--this time, No. 6 in D--and one must credit Granger's seeming affinity for this composer plus probably lots of hard work and adequate rehearsal time.
Additionally, the presence of Moshe Hammer, the orchestra's new concert master, has made a noticeable contribution to a string section that had already demonstrated significant growth last season. Now there was even more unity and sensitivity in phrasing.
True, it was not an ideal performance. There could have more electricity; the brass could have been far less subdued, and the wind players need not have been so timid. Still, Granger gave an honest, direct, unmannered interpretation and showed a strong command of the right style.