Into her fourth season at the helm of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Iona Brown seems to be staying on her original programming course, concentrating her attention mainly on the 18th Century.
Originally, Wednesday's program at Ambassador Auditorium was to have included a peek into our century with Tippett's "Fantasia on a Theme of Corelli" and a Stephen Hartke string orchestra version of a J. S. Bach fugue. Instead, good old unvarnished Bach in the form of two well-traveled violin concertos was substituted. So much for enterprise this time.
At first, some mild storm signals went up in the Vivaldi Concerto Grosso Opus 3, No. 11. Though the its straight-ahead performance had an adequate degree of rhythmic bounce, the orchestra sounded tentative, with some surprisingly ragged entrances, and Brown was sometimes a bit out of tune in her solos from the first violin chair.
Soloing in front of the group in the Bach Violin Concerto No. 2 in E, Brown did not actually hit her stride until the second movement, where the tuning problems fell away and her tone took on a more full-bodied texture. The orchestra, however, continued to sound as if it were merely going through the motions.