Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Right On

February 12, 2009

Julia Fischer and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Photo: mine 2009
Before taking off for Chicago this weekend, I drove down to Orange County to see Julia Fischer and The Academy of St. Martin in the Field on their current tour, which stopped in at the Segerstrom Concert Hall. I won’t go on about it other than to say all of the hype around Fischer is true. She was freaking amazing. The program consisted of two works from 20th-century British composers, Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and Walton’s Sonata for Strings. Under Fisher’s guidance, these two pieces were given full-blooded, dramatic readings that seemed much larger than the ensemble generating them. Sandwiched between these two works were two Bach violin concertos that Fischer played with a perfect touch. Straightforward without unnecessary or melodramatic over-reading, both pieces came off beautifully. Fischer’s attack was perfect – not too aggressive but not too reverent either. Her command of the proceedings was beyond question, and, I have to say, this is one of the more remarkable performances of these works I’ve heard in awhile. Fischer and the ensemble have just released a recording of the Concertos on Decca as well. All of this bodes especially well for her upcoming L.A. Philharmonic appearances which, based on this sampling, would be highly recommended.

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