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Taking a sounding of the Segerstrom

STYLE & CULTURE | MUSIC REVIEW

A listener begins to feel at home in a new hall whose acoustics are, naturally, evolving.

September 18, 2006|Mark Swed | Times Staff Writer

Friday's second half was devoted to Mahler's First Symphony. St.Clair led a carefully controlled performance, but the orchestra played nervously, as if not used to being so nakedly exposed but still wanting to overindulge in the reverberance.

For Saturday's program, Artec deployed more sound-absorbing fabric, slightly reducing the reverberation. Beethoven's Violin Concerto opened the program. Midori was the soloist, playing with impressive effortlessness, but so effortless as to be a tad boring. St.Clair kept a smallish orchestra discrete. The sound from my seat satisfyingly revealed balances and inner lines. I think that was the first time I ever heard the orchestra's violas, which were always lost in the bigger Segerstrom.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday September 23, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Segerstrom Hall: In some copies of Monday's Calendar section, a photo caption accompanying the review of the opening of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall misspelled the first name of actress Anjelica Huston as Angelica.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday September 30, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 75 words Type of Material: Correction
Pacific Symphony: A review of the opening of Segerstrom Hall in the Sept. 18 Calendar section said that, although the initial two concerts were broadcast live locally on the radio, they were not streamed over the Internet because "greedy orchestra musicians" would not permit it. Pacific Symphony management says it was too inundated in the days leading up to the opening to initiate talks to update a labor contract that covered broadcasting but not streaming.

Glass' "The Passion of Ramakrishna," a co-commission with the Nashville Symphony, required the involvement of Pacific Chorale and three vocal soloists (Cynthia Haymon-Coleman, baritone Christopheren Nomura and bass-baritone Nathan Berg). It is a moving work celebrating the last days of the saint and his saintly wife. The musical style breaks little new ground for Glass, except for the glorious Handelian ending. But the composer's style ideally fits the devotional text, and St.Clair approached the 45-minute score with irresistible enthusiasm. The chorus blared unintelligibly.

Open a new hall, and stuff happens. Turning on the Wilson installation and party lights during the last movement of the Mahler on Friday caused a power surge arrester to rumble ominously and ruin the soft passages.

Open a new hall, and stuff doesn't happen. The concerts were broadcast live locally on KUSC and K-MOZART but not streamed over the Internet for the rest of the world. Greedy orchestra musicians, heedless of Ramakrishna's message, wouldn't permit it.

mark.swed@latimes.com

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