To and from the podium of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra guest conductors come and go, but few seem to take as much pleasure in the trip as the latest one, Tamas Vasary. The Hungarian-born, Swiss conductor-pianist returned to that spot, Thursday night at Ambassador Auditorium, and is scheduled to close a three-day visit to the ensemble tonight, back in Pasadena.
One of the reasons is Vasary's elegant but accessible pops program, sort of a Hungarian sandwich, the filling familiar pieces by Bartok and Kodaly, the bread two standard works by Felix Mendelssohn.
Another is the palpable and ostensibly genuine rapport between the lean, wiry, 59-year-old conductor and the sympathetic, ever-accommodating players of this orchestra. Perhaps all the public affection being demonstrated during many bows after these performances did not constitute a full-fledged love feast--they certainly indicated an unreserved mutual admiration between the principals.
Vasary was right to be pleased. At the end of this program, the orchestra gave him a joyous, deeply felt, virtually immaculate reading of Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony, one that delivered all the outer beauties, and many of the inner workings, of this still-wondrous work.