Concertos by Corelli, Handel and Bach, plus Handel's complete "Water Music," make up the latest Baroque program by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As led by Iona Brown in Ambassador Auditorium Wednesday night, this generous offering--comprising no fewer than 30 separate movements--might have proved an embarrassment of riches.
Rich it was, but never overwhelming. Under Brown's careful and affectionate direction--she still eschews conducting for presiding, and does so convincingly--this longish agenda emerged logical and continuous. Leaving the Pasadena hall, one felt no satiety, nor any wish to have shortened the program.
Tight, virtually ensemble-perfect performances, utilizing myriad stylistic devices of contrast and detail, accounted for the depth of this experience. The listener could not tire when each new movement brought fresh thoughts and sounds.
The first half combined Corelli's Concerto Grosso in F, Opus 6, No. 2, with Handel's Harp Concerto in B-flat and Bach's D-minor Concerto for Oboe and Violin, in an ascending series of pleasant climaxes.
Crisp and elegant, the Corelli work introduced the evening joyously, leading the way to JoAnn Turovsky's bright, authoritative playing of the Harp Concerto.
Allan Vogel and Brown were the wonder-making soloists in Bach's familiar concerto, which they illuminated anew with brio and panache; more important, in the central movement, they delivered the Bachian line lovingly.
Played as stylishly and with as much abundant detailing as here, Handel's "Water Music" becomes a feast for the ear, one offering kaleidoscopic emotional and aural pleasures.
So it was Wednesday, when the 30-member orchestra, an agglomeration of virtuosic musical personalities who have become, over recent years, a tight and accomplished band, achieved an effortless, resonant and cherishable reading of this wondrous music.
This program will be repeated tonight at 8 in the Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo.