"Beethoven the Titan" it said on the program, which might lead one to expect music-making of the epic heaven-storming sort.
However, what conductor Lois Johnson and the San Fernando Valley Symphony offered Saturday evening at Reseda High School Auditorium put a premium on lean, crisp sound in cautious, well-planned readings.
Johnson took a quick, brusque approach to the "Leonore" Overture No. 3 and the Fifth Symphony. She was not able to enforce consistent articulation or seamless transitions, but her small, period-sized orchestra cooperated agreeably for the most part, in enervating heat.
The most distinctive feature of Johnson's interpretation was a very wide, tightly controlled dynamic range. This placed the big climaxes in strong relief, but at the soft end the playing would disappear for bars at a time into the roar of the ventilation system.