Maybe the Glendale Symphony Orchestra isn’t actually in or from Glendale. But
the crowd that made the pilgrimage to the Music Center on Sunday night, to
greet the start of the ensemble’s 67th season, made it quite clear that this
was the orchestra of Glendale.
In actuality, the orchestra is formed from the immense local pool of
freelance players — as are most of the other metropolitan orchestras in the
area (Pasadena, Long Beach, etc.). The concertmaster is the ubiquitous Stuart
Canin, whose presence at his first-violinist’s stand is usually in itself a
guarantee of high-level playing. The Glendale may not offer the most profound
musical programming in these parts. If orchestras were breweries, this one
would classify as Lite, low on calories but well-supplied with froth.
That latter commodity bubbled forth in a work called “Impresiones,”
composed by the evening’s conductor, Lalo Schifrin, for the evening’s
trumpet-wielding soloist, Carl Severinsen, known outside the medical
profession as “Doc.” Considering the circumstances –a work by a well-known
and successful purveyor of film and TV scores (over 100 at last count) for a
well-known talk-show bandleader and all-around entertainer — it should come
as no surprise that “Impresiones” is not exactly a challenging latter-day
It is, as expected, a nicely-crafted, harmless half-hour, claiming
inspiration from a Garcia Lorca poem, but more obviously inspired by
television travel ads. Travel where? Severinsen himself provided a hint, with
an encore rendition of some slick variations on the old Spanish pop tune
“Granada.”The audience responded with the familiar standing ovation, a
practice which has obviously made the journey from Los Angeles to Glendale.
The concert began with part of Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Overture — minus, for some curious reason, its soft, luscious ending. It
ended with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in the Ravel
orchestration. Aside from a startling number of boo-boos (horns in the
Mendelssohn, winds in the Mussorgsky) the performances were brisk and
noncommital. Nobody seemed to care.

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