Within the boundaries of its hometown, at least, the Glendale Chamber Orchestra seems to have achieved household-name status. And deservedly so. It has survived five seasons--no mean feat in this business--and in its series opener Saturday evening at Glendale High School, the orchestra proved its capabilities with the standard repertory.
Conductor Christopher Fazzi provided the ensemble with clear leadership in propulsive, dynamic readings of Beethoven's "Coriolan" Overture and the Seventh Symphony. He gave a fine sense of shading and nuance to the second movement of the symphony, and made each contrapuntal line emerge clearly and distinctly.
Fazzi opted for brisk tempos, and the Finale had one or two uneasy moments. But as in the other movements, the excitement his youthful band generated more than compensated, and in the totals column, Fazzi comes out a winner.
Pianist Leonard Pennario brought his familiar, solid and smooth technique to Mozart's Concerto No. 26 in D. But his playing never rose above the terrestrial; instead of introspective probing he delivered a glib, workaday reading, muddied by excessive pedaling. Fazzi and the orchestra accompanied capably.
The soloist delivered a pair of encores, a Nocturne for the left hand by Scriabin and Gottschalk's "The Banjo."