As previously reported in this space, Soka University in Aliso Viejo will unveil the new Soka Performing Arts Center on Sept. 17. The big hall’s acoustics come courtesy of Yasuhisa Toyota, the gentleman responsible for Disney Hall’s wonderful acoustics.
I finally discovered what Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony will perform for the occasion:
A Short Ride in a Fast Machine (John Adams)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Rachmaninoff, Horacio Gutiérrez, soloist)
Suite from Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev)
Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloe (Ravel)
When I first saw the program, I didn’t like it much. It seemed to me that it failed to rise to the festive occasion, and, what’s more, consisted of quite a few works that are oft-heard.
Upon further rumination, however, I can see this program’s merits, not the least of which being that it will serve as a fair demonstration of the hall’s acoustical merits — with the muscle and brilliance of Prokofiev, the clarity and delicacy of the Ravel, the sumptuousness of the Rachmaninoff, with a soloist to see how that works, and a nice, peppy modern work, not too difficult for the hoi polloi, if that’s the word I want.
It’s a nice gamut, I think, even if I do have to sit through the Rachmaninoff again.
Well, Horacio is a nice choice to play Rach 2. Sort of in his wheelhouse, based on the last few times I’ve heard him (which, admittedly, was several years ago).
Yes, but he’s no Yuja Wang.
LOL, No he won’t be wearing a Wang red dress. He is one of the great masters of the Romantic repertoire. Just heard him with the Cleveland Orchestra while I was on business, He brought the house down! He was awesome! I just posted on a similar blog. We are so fortunate to get to hear such a master at the keyboard. Soka University is to be commended for a tremendous contribution to the community and its support to the arts. Where is the magnificent button??
By the way, I am sorry to read you have been reassigned to the People column. I read the comments on the blog. No one reads papers anymore. Blogs are ruling the Earth! As you know, there are several GREAT classical music forums and blogs out there.Best wishes.
I like the program too for the reasons you give. Plus it’s all 20th century (albeit fairly standard fare) and there’s no Beethoven or Mahler on this opening concert.
A “fairly” standard? Can you think of a 20th century program that would be more standard than this one?? But – there is a very good reason for this pieces to be standard. Arguably, they are arranged here in order of increasing quality, starting from very good and ending with a great masterpiece. In the pictures that were published, the hall looks like it should sound quite well.
Overall, I think it’s a nice enough program — could be a little better, could be a lot worse. Clearly not as overt an attempt to show the range of the hall as, say, the Dianne Reeves to Rite of Spring concert that opened WDCH, but that’s ok.
If I were to complain, it would be because there isn’t at least one small-scale piece — a Haydn symphony perhaps, or maybe the Prokofiev 1st — to show how the hall would handle a smaller ensemble.