Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal



Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra blog

February 23, 2014

beethoven's eroica, inside and out

I look forward to LACO’s annual “Discover” concert more than any other concert on their schedule. It’s a concert cut out for an orchestral music novice like me, because in addition to hearing a staggering performance of a classic, I’m also exposed to a tremendous amount of great information, and that’s due to the unique structure of the concert. Unlike the rest of LACO’s concerts, the “Discover” concert focuses on a singular piece of music, but before you hear it played, LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane serves as what’s called a “musical tour guide,” and presents what I can best describe as a cross between a lecture and a musical presentation. He dives into the history of the piece, the composer’s life and point-of-view when it was written, and draws comparisons and contrasts to the music that proceeded it and the music that came after. This year, that treatment was given to Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, known as the “Eroica,” and, like the “Discover” concerts in previous years, this was a compelling and thoroughly entertaining evening.

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prometheus unbound
February 16, 2014

Prometheus is a fascinating mythological figure. His story has been told in numerous versions, with some variations among them, of course. The first known mention of the Titan Prometheus was in an eighth-century B.C. epic poem by Hesiod called, Theogony. The section of the poem dealing with Prometheus lasts only about a hundred lines, but it hits upon a couple of the myth’s main points, namely: 1) Prometheus gives fire to the mortal creatures on earth in defiance of Zeus and the gods; 2) for this transgression, Prometheus is chained to a rock and must daily endure having his liver eaten by an eagle. (This is a daily occurrence because Prometheus is immortal and his liver apparently regenerates every night.) In later versions of the story, it is Prometheus who creates the humans out of clay, with Athena literally breathing life into them. This third aspect of the myth is one that brings new meaning to Prometheus’ theft of fire; if Prometheus brings fire to the humans because he wants to anger Zeus, that’s one thing, but if he gives fire to protect and empower his creations, that’s something else. The gift of fire becomes more poignant in light of Prometheus’ sense of responsibility towards his creations and in terms of his punishment: the hero sacrifices his life and endures torture for the good of his creations.

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older, not necessarily wiser
February 08, 2014

Warning: this Newbie blog could seem more refined, more elegant, and/or wiser than those in the past*. This is because I came into LACO’s Jan 25th performance of Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn at Alex Theater in Glendale with a different and potentially advanced appreciation of classical music. You see, I turned 30 four days earlier and presumed that I would hear these classical pieces with an air of sophistication I lacked in my 20s. I was ready for LACO to “wow” me with music that I was sure would go straight over the heads of the 29 and under crowd.

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