Los Angeles Music Feature: LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (Concerto Finale)

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by Tony Frankel on May 14, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) will conclude its 44th season this weekend with the appropriately titled program, Concerto Finale. This season has showcased both LACO’s eclectic repertoire and the orchestra’s proficiency which more than substantiated PRI’s proclamation that LACO is “America’s finest chamber orchestra.” From a Benjamin Wallfisch world premiere to stunning renditions of Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema music feature Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertos Finale.Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (the original 1924 version) to a pitch-perfect rendition of Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, LACO not only presented established composers, but championed lesser-known artists, equally deserving to be heard, including young American composers Pulitzer Prize finalist Andrew Norman, now LACO composer-in-residence, and James Matheson, recipient of the prestigious 2011 Charles Ives Living award.

It’s safe to say that you have heard of Beethoven (whose Coriolan Overture opens the program) and Shostakovich (whose Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major concludes the evening), but Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, who conducts the program, has long been committed to advocating artists early in their careers, so he also presents to you works by Anna Clyne and Hugo Gonzalez-Pioli on Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8 pm, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and Sunday, May 19, 2013, 7 pm, at Royce Hall, UCLA

French composer Hugo Gonzalez-Pioli will join Kahane one hour before curtain for a pre-concert talk (free to ticketholders) to discuss his composition, The Love of Zero, which will receive its US premiere. The up-and-coming Gonzalez-Pioli, who has already composed for various projects like feature-length movies, advertisements, and animation, is a 2012 graduate of USC’s prestigious Scoring for Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema music feature Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertos Finale.Motion Pictures and Television program. He composed this bassoon concerto as the accompanying music to Robert Florey’s avant-garde film of the same name. Not only will you get to see Florey’s rather amazing short (his second film, made for $200 in 1927), but you will hear LACO Principal Bassoon Kenneth Munday featured in this intriguing bassoon concerto (appropriately, Munday can be heard on hundreds of well-known film scores. During the performance, listen for changing meters, mutable moods and shifting styles, including a dance-like interlude and references to cool jazz and swing. For those unfamiliar with Florey by name, you will no doubt recognize his later work: The Cocoanuts (1929) with the Marx Brothers, Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) with Bela Lugosi, Ex-Lady (1933) with Bette Davis, The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) with Peter Lorre (his last film with Warner Brothers), plus a whole range of TV series including episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits.

Although British-born composer Anna Clyne has written a number of works in her 33 years (her first composition was at age 11), she is still at the beginning of a promising career. Now calling the United States home, Clyne received the 2010 Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema music feature Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertos Finale.Charles Ives Prize and has served as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. LACO will present Within Her Arms, which Clyne composed in 2009 for her mother. The title comes from a line in a Thich Nhat Hanh poem, an elegy for a lost loved one whose presence can be sensed in nature’s beauty. Although she has worked with electro-acoustic forces, Clyne’s Within Her Arms is scored for 15 strings which smoothly intermingle with electronics. The affecting and ruminative work is at times soulful, tender, yearning and mournful, with dramatic but fleeting moments.

Beethoven’s extremely volcanic and occasionally pastoral Coriolan Overture (1807) was written for an 1804 play by Heinrich von Collin, whose subject — the Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus – also inspired that Shakespeare guy. With Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema music feature Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertos Finale.blaring chords and theatrical pauses, the approximately ten-minute work is Beethoven at his most darkly dramatic. The minor theme you will hear at the top embodies Coriolanus and his bellicose desire for war with Rome after his exile. In contrast, the major theme that represents Coriolanus’ mother, who persuades her son against invasion, is much softer. You will notice the storytelling when the first theme returns with far less aggression, and Beethoven moves towards silence to signify defeat and bereavement. Notice how those brash chords at the onset become just an echo at the end, diminishing into nothing.

Although there is no story that I know of connected to Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1959 Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, you wouldn’t know it from the soaring melodies, marches, occasional creepiness, and the suspenseful and dramatic way that instruments respond to each other. Don’t be surprised if the music sounds Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema music feature Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertos Finale.filmic, as he composed dozens of cinema scores. The fascinating construction makes this a fun piece to research for music theorists, but know that this work is incredibly challenging for the soloist, especially the cadenza, which in this Concerto is its own movement (Shostakovich claimed inspiration from Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, another infamously demanding work for cello). The piece was written for celebrated cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who is said to have memorized the difficult part in just four days (see Rostropovich perform it here). One of the most exciting aspects of LACO’s upcoming program is the inclusion of the phenomenal American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who has attracted attention worldwide for playing that combines a natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. You are definitely promised a tour de force performance from this MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Concerto Finale
BEETHOVEN / Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
ANNA CLYNE / Within Her Arms
SHOSTAKOVICH / Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8 pm, Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale CA  91203
Sunday, May 19, 2013, 7pm Royce Hall, UCLA
340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90095
for tickets, call 213 622 7001 or visit http://www.laco.org

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