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MUSIC REVIEWS : Pianist Assists L.A. Mozart Orchestra

October 24, 1994|DANIEL CARIAGA

Beginning her third season as music director of the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, Lucinda Carver led a bracing, largely pleasing Mozart/Beethoven program in Wilshire-Ebell Theatre, Saturday night.

In this, the conductor was aided by veteran American pianist Seymour Lipkin, returning to this city after a long absence, in Beethoven's G-major Concerto.

Important pianists have become a signature of LAMO programming, and Lipkin's splendid performance honored that tradition. If he did not plumb all the depths of this masterpiece, he seriously indicated their existence in a long-breathed reading. And he sailed past all the technical shoals that bedevil even the most experienced Beethovenians in this supreme pianistic challenge.

The 67-year-old musician had helpful partners in his performance; Carver and her 38-member band showed stylishness and confidence throughout.

On their own, in Mozart's "Lucio Silla" Overture and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, the orchestra proved again inconsistent, an ensemble apparently without a "peggable" musical identity, one that, though often note-clean to a fault, still manages to produce sounds without tonal allure or emotional resonance.

Is it the room in which they play? Are their lacks traceable to the podium? Or is this orchestra simply the victim of its own, short annual playing-schedule? If we knew, we would tell.

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