New Season, New Friends
A Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Event In Sunday September 29th, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra introduced its new directorJaime Martin with a tastefully versatile evening of Beethoven and Berlioz. The event was opened by Grammy Award-Winning Mezzo Soprano Anne Sofie von Otter singing Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the orchestra.
Upon intermission, the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
Anne Sofie von Otter knows what she is doing. The orchestra took us through a compelling journey of heartbreak beautifully led by Mrs. von Otter. Her ability to place the precise accent in the precise word is exquisite. Her soft yet determined tone reaches into one’s heart strings and pulls them in an enchanting way. Her dynamics are one of the smoothest, most cleverly used ones I’ve heard in a vocalist. It didn’t hurt to have the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at her back to assist. Les nuits d’été is a cycle of songs composed in 1841 for voice and piano accompaniment by Hector Berlioz. He orchestrated the compilation in 1853. The songs are based off of 6 poems by renowned writer Theopile Gautier.
After 15 minutes of meets and greets in the lobby, the ushers started to ring a percussion triangle, cueing the audience to head back to their seats. Beethoven’s No. 7 is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Composed in the midst of starting the romantic era, this piece is a blend of many elements. The quick dynamic shifts and surprise accents of the first movement gave the new director, Jaime Martin, plenty of space to shine. The violins took the audience through a journey of exhilarating highs and soothing lows.
Beginning the second movement, a couple of new classical music fans clapped. I almost did. Then the cello and violins took the audience’s focus off of the uncomfortable clapping onto their beautiful harmonies to begin the second movement. This movement was not as memorable as the first one. Perhaps I missed being taken to the edge of my seat by the orchestral hits every other measure.
The third movement quickly made up for it with a grand opening. All the instruments opened and closed. Rhythm and harmonies got very busy. There was more syncopation, quicker changes and the entire Orchestra was playing throughout most of this movement. It was incredibly captivating.
The fourth movement gave the principal flute space to shine and he took it. It was absolutely fascinating to see the youngest member of the orchestra take the melody in such a predominantly easy way. His name is Joachim Becerraand he is one of the most promising names in the classical world of musicians today.
Anne Sofie von Otter, Jaime Martin and LACO made this evening extremely memorable. Mr.Martin is definitely a great director for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. I am eager to listen to more of his work with these musicians. Although beautiful mezzo soprano singing never hurts, Beethoven’s No. 7 as performed by this orchestra was truly the highlight of the evening. The musicians interpreted beautifully and the audience could feel the excitement of new beginnings coming from the stage. Although it evoked a variety of reactions, this evening can be summed up in three concepts; skillful, elegant and full of passion.