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MUSIC REVIEW : Subtlety of Bremen Bill Lost at Bowl

August 11, 1995|CHRIS PASLES

A program dependent upon nuance and subtlety made an odd and disappointing calling card for the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, led by Jaime Laredo on Wednesday in its first engagement at the Hollywood Bowl.

Grieg's "Holberg Suite" for string orchestra, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 and even Falla's original (1915) version of "El Amor Brujo" rarely relied on full-throated dynamics and drama. In the spacious and airy confines of the Bowl--with attendance at 6,904--much of the music evaporated or remained a private affair.

Grieg's lyric suite, led and played with attractive modesty, suffered an additional indignity of sonic dislocation, as the cellos and basses seemed to be coming from somewhere above and to the right of the shell. So that's what that tower of speakers is for.

Laredo conducted and played the solo part in the Mozart concerto with emphasis on gallant grace and politesse, obliterated on one occasion by a passing dive-bomber masquerading as a helicopter. The cadenzas were by Laredo or Sam Franko or both.

Flamenco vocalist Ginesa Ortega provided throaty authenticity for Falla's cante jondo -influenced score. Unfortunately, the original version includes many short passages that might make sense when accompanying stage action but which here sounded isolated and fragmented.

The management provided texts and translations but made it virtually impossible to read them by turning down the house lights midway through the intermission and leaving them down for rest of the program.

The chamber group of 27 players, placed forward of a divider that bisected the stage, was formed in 1980 by graduates of the German Youth Orchestra, and there was still student caution and reticence in their playing, although several of the principals played solo passages with sensitivity.

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