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MUSIC REVIEWS : L.A. Chamber Group Slowly Finds Its Way

March 27, 1995|HERBERT GLASS

It took some time for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and conductor Christof Perick to make fluent contact with their music on Friday at the Veterans Wadsworth Theater.

The augmented string section opened the proceedings with a somewhat disheveled delivery of Schoenberg's 'Verklarte Nacht' under Perick's brusque direction, while the ensuing F-minor Clarinet Concerto of Carl Maria von Weber exhibited some bald patches as well.

Weber's quaint old showpiece has the capacity to blossom intermittently in the hands of a virtuoso on the level of Richard Stoltzman, who was in fact Friday's soloist. But the requisite ease was continually beyond his grasp during the opening movement, which was afflicted by a good deal of squawky tone from him and rather too approximate coordination with Perick's rough orchestra.

The slow movement, however, elicited from Stoltzman the honeyed tone and singing grace we expect of him, while the finale found soloist and orchestra romping in happily elegant unison, without quite convincing us that this exhumation was necessary.

If the major business of the evening, Mozart's vast Serenade in B flat for wind band, K. 361, also had some mechanical slips showing, it exhibited the instrumentalists and Perick in a warm and stylish union.

Perick was ultimately responsible for the profoundly satisfying combination of lilt and thrust on exhibition here, but he had splendidly responsive players at his disposal, with the oboe of Allan Vogel--celebrating his 20th anniversary as a LACO principal this season--at the heart of the grandly sonorous ensemble.

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