Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEWS : Bartok is Reborn in Long Beach

October 24, 1994|JOSEF WOODARD

Good musical news befell Long Beach on Saturday night. The Long Beach Symphony, under conductor JoAnn Falletta's strong hands, tends to deliver on high expectations these days, and the latest showing at the Terrace Theater was no exception.

Between familiar doses of Ravel and Brahms was the program's intriguing centerpiece, the U.S. premiere of a revised version of Bartok's Viola Concerto. Soloist-revisionist Paul Neubauer's intent was to restore the score, left unfinished upon the composer's death in 1945, to a more authentic state.

In performance, Neubauer niftily mined the riches of Bartok's work, perched alluringly between romantic expressivity and cool mid-century objectivity. Apart from the potent--and often poignant--solo part, the orchestra's role did still seem sketchy, less unified or propulsive than it might have been had the composer finished his task. But it remains a glowing piece, especially as a bold vehicle for an unjustly neglected instrument.

Moving from the lean to the lush, the second half belonged to Brahms' generally feel-good Second Symphony, on which Falletta flexed a broad expressive hand. Big, swelling sonorities were drawn, without sacrifice of clarity, as the orchestra writhed its way to the almost boisterous finale, by Brahmsian standards.

Falletta's treatment of Ravel's "La Valse" accented inherent dreaminess, melted edges instead of satirical urbanity. The orchestra effectively captured the work's elusive elfin spirit, with its delicious brand of waltz-driven madness.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|