By Jenna Jay
Classical and modern styles of orchestral music will come together for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus in its third concert of the 56
season. The musicians will welcome the cello, piano and percussion ensemble Real Quiet to Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD for performances Feb. 5-6, part of the current “Face the Music” series. The concert will feature pieces contrasting in musical periods and composers, utilizing stylistic similarities as a common element to craft a provocative and unexpected sound.
For musical director Steven Schick, breaking free from a standard orchestra structure that includes a fast overture, concerto and 18th or 19th century symphonic work is crucial for this performance.“That becomes kind of predictable,” Schick said of typical concert formatting, “This can be a great concert, but for our next concert I wanted to rethink the formula. Heighten the contrast. Make the colors more vivid.”
Harnessing these orchestral colors with the stage as a canvas, LJSC will paint a musical portrait featuring Claude Debussy’s “Nuages” and “Fêtes,” two of his three nocturnes, as well as the ballet “Jeux.” These pieces contrast with more modern selections that will include Phil Kline’s “A Dream and Its Opposite,” and the U.S. premiere of Iannis Xenakis’ “Metastasis” (alpha version).
Kline, who will join the concert, composed “A Dream and Its Opposite” for piano, cello and percussion soloists and full orchestra. The piece will feature guest artists Real Quiet, first-time performers with LJSC, in its world premiere.
Describing the shift between the classical and more modern styles of music included in the concert, Schick said, “We’re taking a different approach, but that doesn’t mean rejecting the classical pieces.” In an unconventional manner, this approach adds another dimension to the program with what Schick calls “music for the eyes,” especially in “Jeux” and “Metastasis.”
“‘Jeux’ was originally a ballet, and even though we’re not going to have a dance there, it still has a visual side. It’s very provocative that way.” In terms of visual music, “Jeux” will be contrasted yet also accompanied by Xenakis’ more modern piece “Metastasis,” which also exudes a musical illustration. An architect as well as a composer, Xenakis wrote “Metastasis” in the mid-1950s while he was working on designs of the Philips Pavilion used for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. The piece brings a shade of that architectural project to the music.
“Literally, the shapes of that building are translated into musical shapes, and I think that is just fascinating,” Schick said. “It has a sort of visual sensibility.” With heightened senses of sound and sight at the forefront, Schick hopes to conduct a memorable performance in which symphony enthusiasts of all calibers can enjoy.
If you go
La Jolla Symphony & Chorus with guests Real Quiet
8 p.m. Feb. 5 and 1 p.m. Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. (pre-concert lecture one hour prior to concert times)
Mandeville Auditorium, UCSD
(858) 534-4637; lajollasymphony.com