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MUSIC REVIEW

Pacific Composers Forum Shows Promising Works

June 17, 1996|DANIEL CARIAGA

Bernardo Feldman, Enrique Gonzalez Medina, A. Jo Duell-Gonzalez, Edward Cansino, Hector Armienta, Raymond Torres Santos, Miguel del Aguila and Dell Hake wrote the music for the second of a three-part showcase series being presented by the Pacific Composers Forum this spring and summer.

This installment took place at the delightful and sometimes forgotten Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Park, across the lake from County-USC Medical Center, on Saturday night.

Some of the performances, by eight visiting members of La Orquestra de Baja California and the voice-piano duo Voix-Touche proved scrappy and under-prepared, yet these works still gave pleasure and revealed the promise of their creators.

There was, for instance, Hake's crafty and enjoyable "Estudio para Orquestra de Camera," three light but tight display pieces for an octet of instruments.

There was also Gonzalez-Medina's compressed and handsome "Homenaje a Ruben Salazar"--a highly attractive suite for chamber ensemble in a distinctive 20th century mode not unlike earlier examples by Richard Strauss and Kurt Weill--celebrating without rancor the life of the late Los Angeles Times reporter. And Cansino's subtle and assured "Arullo" to a text of Lope de Vega, here sung carefully by soprano Eileen O'Hern.

*

In addition, O'Hern performed Duell-Gonzalez's neatly set, textually resonant "Ines and William," songs to words by Ines de la Cruz and William Shakespeare, for voice and instrumental trio. With the solid support of pianist Mark Ruttle, she later performed songs of neo-modernist stripe by Armienta and Torres Santos.

Aguila's emotionally evocative "Herbsttag," for trio, and Feldman's moody, wide-ranging "across the street from speculation," for instrumental quartet, completed the program.

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