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A Wagner Love Letter at the Huntington

April 11, 1993|ANNE KLARNER

If living well is the best revenge, then there should be plenty of revenge to be had at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel today as the Chamber Orchestra of Pasadena presents the first of its two-concert "Arabella Series."

After all, how much better can it get than fine music played in the Viennese Room, which is the same size and style as some of the greatest 18th-Century concert halls in Europe, not to mention tea on the veranda overlooking the picture bridge and pool?

The program will include such romantic niceties as Mozart's "Divertimento in D for Oboe, Horns and Strings (K251)."

"You sit there and you flirt with somebody," the orchestra's conductor, Victor Vener, said of the piece.

A little passion comes with the next piece, the "Siegfried Idyll," which Richard Wagner wrote for his wife.

"This was his love letter to her, her birthday present," Vener said. "He lined up 14 musicians on the staircase of their home at 7:30 a.m., and they serenaded her. It's really sexy, really romantic."

And finally, there's the glory of nature found in Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring," as he originally composed it in 1943 for just 13 pieces. Vener said Copland "beefed up" the work to its better known fully orchestrated version much later.

"Some people think of chamber orchestras as four old ladies scratching on a violin," Vener said. "Chamber orchestra is just a little orchestra."

There are two ways to enjoy this idyllic event. For $50, you can have a buffet lunch at 1:30 p.m., with dessert and tea at intermission. Or you can just go for the concert at 2:30 p.m. for $35, and maybe buy a dessert at intermission.

The hotel is at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.

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