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MUSIC REVIEW

Pacific Serenades Performs Virtuosic 'Lauds' Premiere

March 11, 1997|DANIEL CARIAGA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The piece receiving the 41st premiere in the 11-year history of Pacific Serenades is a gem: Maria Newman's "Lauds," a quartet for oboe and strings that spreads joy consistently through varied textures and changing moods during its tight, 17-minute length.

The sequence of performances of "Lauds" began, as is usual in this series, in a private home, Saturday, continued Sunday afternoon at the Biltmore Hotel and concludes tonight in Westwood. As played by violinist Connie Kupka, violist Roland Kato, cellist David Speltz and oboist Allan Vogel in the Biltmore's handsome and acoustically welcoming Emerald Room, the work emerged serious and virtuosic, yet lighthearted.

The young composer, present on Sunday, describes the musical scenario as "a metamorphosis from darkness into light," which may overstate the case; the journey actually goes the short distance from sobriety to joy. The trip is convincing and compelling, the style pungently tonal, the writing transparent and idiomatic.

The program began with Schubert's one-movement String Trio in B-flat, D. 471, played charmingly by Kupka/Kato/Speltz, and concluded with an irresistible performance of Mozart's Oboe Quartet, K. 370, in which Vogel excelled. In the middle, cellist Speltz combined concentrated authority and an easy technical display in Bach's solo Suite No. 2 in D minor.

* The same ensemble from Pacific Serenades repeats this program tonight at 8, Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd. $5-$18. (213) 852-0260. $5-$18.

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