Ojai Festival Day 1

Ojai again. After 62 years, nothing surprises. Thirty-five years ago a Carnegie Hall audience rose up in revolt at the minimalist nothingness of Steve Reich’s “Four Organs”;  Last night there were whoops and cheers of joy and celebrations. Reich is the main attraction this year; three of the main events are entirely his. The “Daniel Variations,” which ended the first night, got a raucous, monotone reading by the Festival Orchestra and four solo singers under Brad Lubman  (instead of the prescribed small chorus that had sung it for the Master Chorale and recorded it for Nonesuch). The results were not nice.

Earlier, the “Four Organs” (by So Percussion) and “Eight Lines” (by Brad Lubman’s Signal) fared better. Still, there’s a lot of Steve Reich at Ojai this week; perhaps too much; Other seasons have offered greater variety. How dare I complain, though, with Dawn Upshaw on the premises, and the splendid young Eric Huebner with Elliott Carter’s “Night Fantasies” in his fingers, music I have just now fallen in love with. They tell me there are still tickets to be had, but that won’t be for long. .

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