Archive for January, 2019


Just got back from a performance of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Royce Hall at UCLA. The last of the series I bought, and it was great fun. I’m looking forward to future performances. Tonight we heard:

Sarah Gibson’s “Warp and Weft,” a Modernist piece composed specially for LACO. The best I can say for it was that it wasn’t nearly as painful as other commissioned pieces I’ve heard on earlier occasions. That itself was a moral victory.

Mozart: Piano Concerto #17. Very enjoyable, and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard this one before. The pianist was impressive. There’s something about Mozart, though. Maybe it’s all the Warner Bros. cartoons I watched growing up, but I kept expecting Elmer Fudd to chase Bugs Bunny onto the stage, shotgun blasting in counterpoint to the music. I would have paid extra for that.

(And if you haven’t seen “The Rabbit of Seville,” your life is a wasteland.)

Ruth Seeger: Andante for Strings. (1931) Let’s just say this was misnamed. I believe it should have been called “Flies buzzing around a dead cow by a placid lake.”

Beethoven: Fifth Symphony. My first time ever hearing this live, and it was magnificent. There are composers I like better than Beethoven (Haydn, Schubert), and there are Beethoven symphonies I like better than the Fifth (#s3 and 7). But the 5th symphony quite literally epitomizes Classical music. If you’ve seen “300,” it is the Leonidas of symphonies. Instead of screaming “This is Sparta!”, the opening grabs you by the collar, gets in your face, and yells “THIS! IS! MUSIC!!” before kicking you off the stage and into the cheap seats. I have rarely seen a work demand such sustained concentration and intensity from performers. It is exhausting and exhilarating for both performer and audience, and it is something everyone should see at least once.

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