In some ways, it seemed like old times with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Thursday evening at the Wiltern Theatre. Yoav Talmi was making his first appearance with the band, but the program he led reminded at least one listener of the Gerard Schwarz era.
Not the manner in which he led it, however. Talmi, music director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, is a conductor of individual profile and musical distinction.
Working from memory and without a baton, he elicited a suave, largely understated reading of Beethoven's Second Symphony from the Chamber Orchestra. The sound was mellow, yet clear in detail, with only a few blurred wind attacks to disturb the smooth ensemble finish.
The results rang true, except in the Larghetto, which seemed to plod from phrase to phrase without encompassing purposes. Otherwise, Talmi shaped the music of the moment to meet larger goals and allowed the Haydnesque character of the work to emerge without exaggeration.