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Concert Review: the California Phil

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LAist was able to check out a couple of concerts last weekend, in two completely different venues. The program included some very patriotic affair, with the California Phil providing all of the fireworks. These concerts were mentioned as last week's classical pick, and did not disappoint. Although the program was exactly the same, the orchestra was able to adjust accordingly to the acoustics at each venue and offered a different interpretation but the same unbridled enthusiasm at each performance. The founder-conductor Victor Vener (who sounds like Jeff Bridges) engaged the orchestra and enthralled the audience throughout the concerts, with interesting anecdotes to make the pieces more personal to the audience, including a touching story involving his brother.

The Sousa was engaging and energizing, as the crowd clapped along throughout the entire piece. This led into an orchestral rendition of some tunes from the musical Chicago, to the delight of many Chicago expats in the audience. Appalachian Spring had suffered at the hands of many uninterested and uninspired orchestras, but not with this orchestra. This was the highlight of the concert at the Arboretum, where even the birds seemed to respond to the woodwinds with melodies of their own, and ended to a thunderous ovation. This segued into the Rhapsody in Blue, performed by Norman Krieger. The rising diatonic scale from the clarinet dictated how the piece began, with the orchestra setting the tone for how the piece should go. When the piano came in, he took over from there, making the piece his own with dazzling virtuosity, subtle tempo changes and a spectrum of colors used throughout the piece.

after the intermission...