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Critical Mass

January 30, 2014


Grant Gershon and members of the LA Master Chorale Photo: Jamie Pham
The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 50th Anniversary season continued its victory lap this past weekend. The Chorale has been revisiting cornerstones of their repertory and no anniversary would be complete without one of the grand scale works of the choral cannon. And while the LAMC has been very close to contemporary music, the works or Morten Lauridsen will be featured in the upcoming Mar 16 program, they have never slacked off on staples either. Take last weekend’s glowing performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. The Chorale and music director Grant Gershon pulled off the tricky feat of delivering the best of both worlds. On the one hand, Gershon went for a mid-20th century large ensemble approach to the piece relying on an orchestra populated with contemporary instruments and big sound. On the other he managed an often delicate and spritely performance that never bogged down. The approach seemed perfectly fit for the occasion, a big anniversary, and the space, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, with its secular worldview and grand design. The surety of the performance only grew more formidable as the evening drew on and the "Dona nobis pacem" hit home with full a profound quiet force. This is not always the case for performances of the Mass even with the most experienced of ensembles, but once again Gershon displayed his world-class conducting gifts.

As always the chorale offered up an array of exciting soloists throughout the night. I hesitate to single anyone out with such a large group of fine soloists so suffice it to say the Chorale’s team players were on top of their game all night from beginning to end. It was an exciting and hearty reminder that the LAMC has grown to a point and has such a rich depth that musically, not much phases them from Bach to brand new music. The season roles on and given the quality of performances so far, the remaining shows this season all come highly recommended.



What a job!
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