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.
August 29, 1990 |
Placing both Mozart Piano Quartets on Monday's heavy-duty SummerFest program may have been devised as a loyalty test for festival patrons. And most of the packed Sherwood Auditorium audience remained through the final E-flat Piano Quartet, K. 493, which stretched the concert to a generous 2 1/2 hours. But the minority who slipped out before it started may be forgiven for turning down a second helping of piano quartet after the lackluster performance of Mozart's G Minor Piano Quartet, K.
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.
March 14, 1990 |
Seldom absent from the local scene for more than a few months, pianist Gustavo Romero returned triumphantly Monday night to Sherwood Auditorium as soloist with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. The ever-smiling Romero, winner of last year's Clara Haskil piano competition, subdued the mighty challenges of Saint-Saens' Second Piano Concerto with confidence and technique to spare.
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.
November 5, 1988 |
Those who follow the musical peregrinations of the San Diego Symphony on a weekly basis must be sorely tempted to ask, "Will the real San Diego Symphony please stand!" Each week, a new guest conductor seems to conjure a different orchestra--each with its own strengths and weaknesses--out of the same musical ensemble.
November 3, 1988 |
Granted, the presentation of new music does not arouse either the passion or even the curiosity of, say, a newly released movie or the opening of a Broadway play. But even Beethoven was once novel, and some of today's staples of orchestral and chamber music were initially dismissed as ugly or unplayable. UC San Diego's New Music Forum has a healthy reputation for offering a regular sampling of new works by the university's cadre of younger composers.
September 1, 1988 |
SummerFest '88, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society's conspicuously well-attended 11-day festival, took its final curtain calls Tuesday night at Sherwood Auditorium. Festival artistic director Heiichiro Ohyama took the podium and led the San Diego Chamber Orchestra in a pleasant potpourri of Mozart, J. S. Bach and Ernest Bloch. With only a tangential relationship to the chamber music festival, the program seemed like a postscript rather than a grand finale.
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.
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.