MUSIC REVIEWS : Orchestra Excels in Schumann
Presented under the auspices of BMI, the Young Musicians’ Foundation Debut Orchestra played the second outstanding performance this season of Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 (“Rhenish”) Sunday afternoon.
Although the younger ensemble could not match the sheer chops of the one Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic gave last October at the Music Center, its Japan America Theater reading was a strong and bold showcase for the young orchestra’s virtuosity and musical maturity, and it convincingly conveyed conductor Daniel Hege’s imaginative insights into the music.
The concert opened with the world premiere of 25-year-old Pierre Jalbert’s “Evocation.”
Composed in 1991 and winner of the 1992 BMI Award for composition, the moderately paced, 15-minute exercise in contrasts begins with a delicate opening section of Stockhausen-like sketchiness that leads eventually, through a variety of textures, dynamics and vivid brass and percussion outbursts, to a wonderfully banal brass theme suitable for a Gothic horror film. After a final, noisy outburst, the eerie opening mood returns.
Despite less than convincing work from the strings, “Evocation” proved an effective program opener and deserves to be heard again.
Leading into intermission, YMF concertmaster Nurit Pacht played Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5.
Although the 18-year-old soloist lacked the commanding tone and superhuman technique this heavy-duty virtuoso vehicle requires, Pacht showed an amazing amount of temperament and, not surprisingly, rapport between herself and the orchestra, which, under Hege’s alert baton, gave its leader a remarkably involved accompaniment.