Conductor Micah Levy and the Orange County Chamber Orchestra opened their fifth season Sunday at Loyola Marymount University in Orange with a typically strong, individual concert profile. Levy followed the baroque with the modern, then leaped chronologically backward to end with a concerto. It all worked, as the orchestra demonstrated its increasing ensemble mastery.
From the seemingly inexhaustible treasure-house of the baroque musical era, Levy selected Johan Helmich Roman's relatively unfamiliar "Drottningholmsmusiquen" (Royal Wedding Music), a suite composed in 1744 for the wedding of Sweden's crown prince and the princess of Prussia.
The New Grove notes that Roman is called "the Swedish Handel." The similarities are especially apparent here, in those bright sections that suggest public utterances. One portion of the 12-part suite sounds as if Roman simply turned part of the score of Handel's "Water Music" upside down.
But the gentle, affecting air marked Lento is reason enough to hear the work. The orchestra played with clean, balanced, transparent textures, and Levy conducted with pointed phrasing and sense of purpose.