Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC AND OPERA REVIEWS : L.B. Symphony's 2 'Scheherazades'

March 29, 1993|TIMOTHY MANGAN

It was surely not the first time that Ravel's "Sheherazade" had been paired with Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite of the same name, but JoAnn Falletta and the Long Beach Symphony went one up on that coupling Saturday night by including the world premiere of "Seemorgh," by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran.

The three movements and 22 minutes of "Seemorgh" (a.k.a Phoenix) were inspired by Persian legend, and the music is unmistakably graphic in its appeal. Dark, threatening, driving, splashy and brilliant, it takes its cue (and sometimes more) from like-minded classics by Stravinsky ("Sacre" and "Firebird," of course), by Bartok ("Miraculous Mandarin"), by Holst ("The Planets").

In case this wasn't all super-vivid enough, Ranjbaran throws in a heady John Williams-ish orchestration. Thoroughly accomplished and perhaps a bit more sophisticated than the above description makes it sound, "Seemorgh" nevertheless gave one the feeling of having heard it before. Falletta and her orchestra, as is usual in new music, gave it a well-rehearsed, committed and formidably athletic run-through.

Soprano Carol Neblett sang Ravel's "Sheherazade" with predictably dramatic and communicative results. Her voice could, however, seem too big for the delicate task at hand, though she often modulated to a parlando in capturing the quieter passages. In her encore, "Pleurez! pleurez, mes yeux!" from Massenet's "Le Cid," she was fully in her element, limning it richly and sensitively, her upper notes ringing clearly.

After intermission in Terrace Theater, Falletta offered a forceful and graceful, crisp, no-nonsense account of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" in which a number of principals excelled, most notably concertmaster Roger Wilkie and bassoonist Julie Feves.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|