Classical Pick of the Week: Pasadena Symphony Plays Revueltas, Glass & Berlioz
There's no doubt about it, Pasadena is an arts town. Local "old money" patronize the cultural arts in these parts and it shows. Talk about the season opener for the Pasadena Symphony, you can't go wrong with these three composers.
Known as Mexico's most distinctive musical voice of the 1930's, Silvestre Revueltas is a madman of a composer -- colorful, energetic and all over the place. "The Homage to Lorca conflates two seemingly incompatible musical vocabularies: Mexican street music and Modernism - as though Stravinsky had joined a mariachi band," states Dr. Lars Hoefs in the extensive and wonderful in-depth concert notes for next Saturday night's program.
The highlight of the night is minimalist Phillip Glass' "Concerto Fantasy for
Two Timpanists & Orchestra." And if it were not for one of the guest artists performing with the Pasadena Symphony, the piece would never exist. “I put off the timpani concerto for about ten years because I just couldn’t imagine how I would do it, and Jonathan Haas was so persistent that I finally did it," Glass wrote, "He was a complete nuisance until I wrote it.” And so it was written for fourteen kettledrums and two timpanists.
The night will end with an abridged three-movement version of Hector Berlioz' "Romeo and Juliet." We have all heard a very small portion of the dramatic work in Bugs Bunny and other cartoons when cupid strikes, but that overly=used-makes-me-want-to-puke moment in the score is so slight, don't even worry, the rest score is crazy good if you were the type that enjoyed the harmonies and style Berlioz' macabre and massive "Symphonie Fantastique."
Other concerts of interest
- Don't forget about last week's classical pick, the Santa Monica Symphony, who plays tonight for free.
- Another free concert tonight at Royce Hall featuring the American Youth Symphony.
- LA Phil's Green Umbrella Series begins Tuesday with a concert featuring the music of Finish composer Kaija Saariaho and synchronized video installations.
- Straight from Amsterdam, the award-winning saxophone Amstel Quartet will visit the Lancaster Performing Arts Center on October 12.
- The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet plays at CalTech next Sunday afternoon.
- The Symphony in the Glen will play a concert in support of the Griffith Park fire recovery next Sunday night at the Old Zoo Picnic Area.
Photo by Unhindered by Talent via Flickr