December 10, 1988 |
Toward the harp there is no small amount of condescension. Consider the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, who stated that finding a harp in a symphony orchestration was the equivalent of discovering a hair in a bowl of soup. Someone else once dismissed it as a naked Steinway. Although few composers have lavished their most sublime thoughts on the harp, there is a modest catalogue of solo repertory for the instrument.
June 15, 1988 |
Monday night's festivities at the Spreckels Organ pavilion in Balboa Park exuded an unmistakable tinge of triumph, and a crowd of about 1,500 was on hand to relish the victory. Had it been a scene in a melodrama, it would have been that moment of revelation when the orphan discovers he not only has parents, but also parents who are rich and benevolent.
January 7, 2013 |
It's a new year, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated with a new concerto, or at least a nearly new one. Tan Dun's "The Tears of Nature," which features a whiz-bang percussionist and orchestra, is an L.A. Phil co-commission involving four orchestras. A radio orchestra in Lübeck, Germany, gave the world premiere last month. But though the concerto's U.S. premiere Friday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall by percussionist Martin Grubinger and guest conductor Christoph Eschenbach was but a deuxième , the L.A. Phil's very first notes of 2013 were still fresh and wondrous.
October 13, 1990 |
Charting improvements in the San Diego Symphony under the tutelage of new music director Yoav Talmi could become a pleasant pastime. Although it would be foolish to expect overnight miracles--and Talmi would be the first to dismiss such a lightheaded notion--the orchestra's Thursday night concert at Copley Symphony Hall displayed some hopeful signs. Haydn's Symphony No. 96 ("The Miracle"), the program's opening salvo, sparkled with unexpected excitement and allure.
November 5, 1987 |
Conductor John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale opened their 20th season Tuesday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with a program that showed Alexander's firm commitment to taking the high road of artistic development. Alexander offered no self-gratulatory speeches, no easy or familiar repertory, no repetitions from recent seasons.
August 29, 1988 |
Although this year's SummerFest audience seems to have come equipped with an automatic "Bravo!" response, Saturday night's performance of the Schubert E-flat Piano Trio, Op. 100, warranted this level of enthusiasm. Most performances tap into the gravity and breadth of Schubert's chamber-size opus built on symphonic proportions, but SummerFest's players captured its youthful abandon as well as its emotional volatility.
February 2, 2009 |
What was it about the number 3 (perhaps the connection to Beethoven's "Eroica"?) that seems to have inspired certain mid-20th century American symphonists to reach for a little something extra? Aaron Copland's Third Symphony was grander and more portentous than his others. Roy Harris' great Third still anchors his name on the periphery of the repertoire. Leonard Bernstein's Third was his most audacious symphony and remains controversial. And there was William Schuman's Third -- a tremendously galvanizing score that has been all but bypassed by history.
September 27, 1993 |
Samuel Wong? Daniel Gaisford? Who? At first blush, it appeared as if the powers-that-be at the Pacific Symphony were happy enough to let the fireworks and cannon and old Piotr Ilyich (Tchaikovsky, that is) do all the work of packing 'em into Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on Saturday night, for the seventh annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular. Never underestimate bombs bursting in air: 11,139 officially tabulated listeners showed up for the festivities.
June 1, 1991 |
Scholars protested when the popular movie "Amadeus" portrayed their revered Mozart as an oversexed prankster. And Tom Hulce's cacophonous cackle drove them up the wall. But, even if the film exaggerated Mozart's penchant for humor and frivolity, there is ample evidence for his affinity to comedy.
August 28, 1990 |
Given David Atherton's annual Mozart festival and the many Mozart performances regularly scheduled by local orchestras, no one is likely to conclude that San Diego suffers from a Mozart shortage. Nevertheless, Mozart played with the chemistry and excitement of Sunday evening's SummerFest '90 chamber orchestra concert is a rare commodity anywhere. Oddly, this all-Mozart concert began inauspiciously with a lackluster reading of the F Major Divertimento, K. 138.