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Orchestral Repertory: New And Old Standards

September 27, 1987|JOHN HENKEN

The standard orchestral repertory is a self-defining field of clearly understood--albeit unspecified--boundaries. A glance through the season's schedules for local and visiting orchestras, for example, reveals that we will have many opportunities to hear music by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schumann, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky.

No surprises there.

More interesting though, are the ways in which orchestras big and small, internationally known and regional, mysteriously conform even in their more adventuresome programming. Somehow, one doubts it is a matter of great minds thinking alike.

Among living composers, John Adams is clearly the man of the minimal moment. And surprisingly, it is the Los Angeles Philharmonic--frequently rapped for stodgy, bore-before-offend, programming--that is leading the way in this mini-trend. In January, Simon Rattle will direct the orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the local premiere of "Harmonium," which dates from 1981 and from Adams' tenure in San Francisco.

In November, Daniel Lewis and the USC Symphony will perform Adams' "Harmonielehre," and in March, Keith Clark and the Pacific Symphony will present Adams' "A Short Ride in a Fast Machine" in Costa Mesa. Both works have been given previously by the Philharmonic--"Harmonielehre" in its local premiere two years ago, and "Fast Ride" this summer at Hollywood Bowl.

The symphonies of Shostakovich also seem in vogue. The oft-quoted "New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" begins its article on the composer by stating that "He is widely regarded as the greatest symphonist of the mid-20th century." Conductors would seem to concur--this season at least.

Andre Previn, in fact, has included the 10th Symphony on the opening program of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's season, Oct. 22. He backs it up with Brahms' Fourth, a reliable war-horse in the same key--E-minor--as the Shostakovich. Though not the most wildly progressive program possible--nor a particularly festive opener--it will still probably manage to offend the conservative sensibilities of some subscribers.

The Philharmonic has also scheduled Shostakovich's last symphony--the 15th--with Kurt Sanderling in March, and the Sixth, with Vladimir Ashkenazy in February. Jorge Mester also conducts the Sixth, with the Pasadena Symphony in March, and Murry Sidlin leads the Long Beach Symphony in May in the composer's 13th Symphony. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Armin Jordan, is offering Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony at some of the concerts it will play in the area in November.

On the solo front, Beethoven's Concerto seems to be the vehicle of preference for violinists this season. It has been programmed by five fiddlers, three of them playing it in March. As usual, Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" is the guitarists' choice. Four performances of the popular favorite are scheduled, three of them within a month of each other.

UNION TO SUE LACO: Bernie Fleischer, president of Musicians' Union Local 47, has announced his union's intention to sue the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Society over the dismissal of concertmaster Paul Shure and violist Janet Lakatos. The union alleges that the musicians' contracts were not renewed because of their opposition to the appointment of Iona Brown as music director and intends to "file a lawsuit based on the California law on arbitrary termination of an employee," according to an open letter to members of the orchestra.

EMIGRE PIANIST'S LOCAL DEBUT: Regina Shamvili, who left the Soviet Union in 1983, gives her first Los Angeles performance Oct. 10, at Murphy Hall, Loyola Marymount University. Her program, which will be introduced by Frank Sinatra Jr., lists Beethoven's Sonata in A, Opus 101, Schumann's "Kreisleriana" and three works by Chopin.

NEW MUSIC: The Pacific Composers Forum presents a chamber music concert today at Mount St. Mary's College Theater, 3 p.m. The program offers new works by Paul Gibson, Joseph Mencilla, Lynne Palmer, John Rosasco and Peter Rutenburg, scored for violin, clarinet, cello and harp, in various combinations.

JOFFREY PRESENTS "SACRE DU PRINTEMPS": The Joffrey Ballet opens its fall season at the Music Center Wednesday with the first American performance of "Le Sacre du Printemps"--in the form given by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris, at the riot-provoking premiere in 1913. Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer have reconstructed Nijinsky's choreography and Nicholas Roerich's designs. Two other Diaghilev ballets, "Parade" and "L'Apres-midi d'un Faune," complete the bill.

Repertory for the three-week stand also includes the local premiere of Gerald Arpino's "L'Air d'Esprit," a 1973 tribute to Diaghilev dancer Olga Spessivtzeva. "La Fille Mal Gardee" is the only full-length ballet scheduled.

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