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MUSIC REVIEW

Long Beach delivers on promises

October 14, 2002|Daniel Cariaga | Times Staff Writer

Beginning his second season at the helm of the Long Beach Symphony, music director Enrique Arturo Diemecke calls the season "Music With Passion." On that promise, he and the orchestra delivered completely at the opening event Saturday night in the Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Rachmaninoff's rousing, exposing Second Symphony proved the climax, in a brilliant but never overstated performance, elegantly Romantic, effortlessly balanced.

The string section has seldom sounded so full, lush and controlled. Conductor Diemecke coaxed vibrant singing from these sometimes restrained players; they played full-out and with a resplendent legato. The winds crowned the performance with mellow but glorious fortes and handsome solo contributions.

The rest of the program also met the orchestra's higher standard, although the opening work, Walton's coronation march, "Crown Imperial," emerged more unleashed than dignified. Diemecke's own 30-minute, Don Quixote-inspired tone poem "Camino y Vision" (The Way and the Vision) -- a colorful reimagining of the Don Quixote legend, with the hero coming to land in Diemecke's hometown, Guanajuato, Mexico -- was the centerpiece.

Being heard in its West Coast premiere, the eclectic, colorful work quotes Quixote-inspired pieces by Telemann and Richard Strauss, among others. And it adds at one place a rhythm band, here a 16-member group of youngsters called Recycled Rhythm, along with the resourceful cello soloist, principal cello Cecilia Tsan.

The result is a most entertaining and accessible piece that gave great pleasure to the opening-night audience.

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