Musically, it was just another ho-hum evening with the Glendale Symphony.
Extra-musical activity--i.e. Arte Johnson’s narration to Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf"--provided the bright spot in the proceedings, Sunday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Using a joked-up story line, Johnson shunned mere exposition and acted out the various parts. He waddled as the duck, groomed himself as the cat, preened and pranced as the “cub scout” Peter. As the wolf who contemplates his next meal, Johnson interjected the inevitable “very interesting.” Impishly aspiring to grandiloquence, he broke out into Hamlet’s soliloquy. All rather predictable, yes, but winningly silly.
Johnson’s antics of course tended to relegate the music, pace Prokofiev, to mere accompaniment, which music director Lalo Schifrin supplied dutifully, with solid contributions from the principal soloists.
Schifrin opened with a perky and mostly trim run-through of Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro” Overture, and followed with a generalized reading of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony. The conductor exhibited no special control over the orchestra or the music in the Schumann--his attention hardly strayed from the score--but neither did he get in their way.
Albert Darakjian’s brief “Flight of the Eagle"--B-movie Khatchaturian--played twice, and Grofe’s “On the Trail” from “Grand Canyon Suite” (Why bother with this?) filled out the program.