While the chorus sang, the band had the night off. At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Saturday evening, the Los Angeles Master Chorale dispensed with its companion orchestra, Sinfonia, to present a largely a cappella program.
Important shorter works, principally from the 19th and 20th centuries, comprised the agenda, representing, in conductor John Currie's words, the "red meat" of the literature.
Certainly meaty are the three Bruckner motets that opened the program. Currie led crisp, clear, energetic readings, rich in dynamic contrasts, and coaxed from his singers a voluminous sound with no loss of clarity. But Currie has not molded the 130-voice ensemble into a choir in which voices truly blend, and the soprano section (the largest) unreasonably dominated.
The conductor's bright sound worked very well in Handel's "Zadok the Priest." Samuel John Swartz played the organ part stylishly, and the choir's vigor, buoyancy and sense of motion brought the evening to a heroic conclusion.