Sunday, July 11th, 2013 maestro Victor Vener and the California Philharmonic performed in front of an excited audience at the majestic Disney Hall downtown Los Angeles.
The program started with the Carousel Waltz by Richard Rodgers and his long time collaborator Oscar Hammerstein, a dream team that broke new ground with modern musicals, using dance and song to convey plot rather than diverting attention from the story. Building the musical techniques of opera composers they were the first to incorporate and re-use musical motifs throughout the musical to connect the music story and allude to concern characters.
Unlike before, the Carousel Waltz was not only used as the main theme but also instead of an overture.
Next Vener took his audience away to the streets of Paris with George Gershwin’s An American In Paris, a symphony in one movement. Amusing where the different themes majstro Vener pointed out including the French car horns that give this piece a particular authentic Parisian on- the-street experience.
After Vener spoke about Rhapsody in Blue, telling the audience that Gershwin gained notoriety through his Broadway musicals but that Rhapsody in Blue launched his career as a classical composer, combining elements of classical, jazz band and popular music. Pianist Bryan Pezzone delivered an inspiring and entertaining version of this long but phenomenal piece with the California Philharmonic.
After an intermission the melody of the King And I filled the hall, reminding the audience of marching Siamese children and long, hot days in a far away kingdom.
Next on the program, the audience was introduced to the charming Kim Huber and the handsome James Barbour, two of Broadway’s best singers, taking turns singing solos from musicals such as South Pacific, Carousel, The Sound of Music and Oklahoma. Miss Huber, hitting all the high notes, sounded enchanting and reminded with her high pitched voice very much on a young Julie Andrews. James Barbour an exceptional barritone, was able to capture the audience with his deep voice and certainly charmed all the ladies in the hall.
If you’d like to join for Les Miz & Bernstein, the last musical weekend this summer including the Cal Phi Chorale, baritone Randal Keith and soprano Melissa Caldretti hurry and get tickets at www.ticketmaster.com for Disney Hall or www.calphil.org for the outdoor concerts at Santa Anita.