Recommended recordings: September

Recommended recordings of the pieces performed by the Pacific Symphony on its programs in September.

Shostakovich: Festive Overture. Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi, conductor. Chandos.

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Krill Kondrashin, conductor. Martha Argerich, piano. Philips.

Rimsky-Korsakov: “Procession of the Nobles” from Mlada. Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor. On “Rimsky-Korsakov’s Greatest Hits” album from Sony Classical.

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Interview: Meredith Crawford, principal viola

By ERICA SHARP

Meredith Crawford, principal viola of Pacific Symphony, cheerfully picked up the phone to talk to an interviewer at the appointed time. She said she had just come back from a walk on the beach. She currently resides in Belmont Shore, a neighborhood in Long Beach, commuting to Costa Mesa to play in the orchestra. 

Crawford found Pacific Symphony while finishing up her studies as a college student, wanting to find orchestras just so she could gain audition experience for her professional career, which she thought would come much later. 

But during her research of this orchestra, she said the image of the musicians photographed on the beach began to change her mind to take the audition more seriously. The idea of moving to California to become part of what she perceived to be a well-loved and innovative group was her dream. 

Crawford was born in Massachusetts in 1986 but her family moved to Maine shortly thereafter. Although she grew up in a musical family, in which both of her grandparents were musicians, she jokes that the music “skipped a generation,” since her parents were not.  

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2018-2019 Soka concerts on sale, programming set

Single tickets for next season’s Pacific Symphony concerts at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo go on sale today. The popular three-concert series was previously available by subscription only.

Programming for the three Sunday afternoon concerts has also been set.

The series opener, on November 18, will be led by the soloists. Principal trumpet Barry Perkins leads Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto and concertmaster Dennis Kim leads Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, with principal violist Meredith Crawford sharing the spotlight in that work.

Concert 2, on Feb. 10, is conducted by music director Carl St.Clair and features Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with the young American pianist and recent Avery Fisher Career Grant winner Drew Petersen as soloist.

St.Clair is on the podium as well for the series finale, March 31, and Schubert and Chopin appear again on the agenda, this time with the “Unfinished” Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 1. Conrad Tao, a local favorite, is the soloist in the latter.

Both pianists are scheduled to add a couple of Chopin Preludes to their programs.

All concerts in the series are held on Sundays at 3 p.m. and are performed without intermission. Single tickets are $56, or $46 for students, seniors and acting military. To purchase tickets call (949) 480-4278 or visit the tickets page at the Soka Performing Arts Center website.

Miscellany

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

After four critically acclaimed seasons, Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” is no more….

Composer Jennifer Higdon wins $100,000 Nemmers Prize….

A new economic impact study shows that the Boston Symphony is pumping huge amounts into the local economy….

British orchestra musicians may have to wear earplugs after high court ruling….

You should never have gotten rid of that record player. Something called “high definition vinyl” is in the offing….

The Pulitzer Prize in music goes to … Kendrick Lamar, hip-hop artist….

The Pacific Chorale has announced its 2018-19 season and it includes the performance of a big work with Pacific Symphony….

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music will build a huge addition which will also house its students….

Did you see the April 12 cover of The New Yorker? Classical music is featured….

Mussorgsky: ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ sans Ravel

A good way to prepare for this week’s performances by Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in Ravel’s incomparable orchestration is to hear the piece in its original version, for solo piano.

Here’s Alice Sara Ott playing it live.

Tickets for this week’s performances are here.

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 (Oistrakh, Philharmonia)

Here’s a warm, full-bodied and irresistibly singing recording of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. David Oistrakh is the violinist and conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Hear Pinchas Zukerman perform this same work with Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony on March 15-18.

Audio: Klemperer conducts the Overture to ‘Cosi fan tutte’

Since you liked the last one so much, we thought we’d share another. Here’s Otto Klemperer conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra in Mozart’s Overture to “Cosi fan tutte.” This was recorded in 1971, late in Klemperer’s life. The ensemble is not the tightest, but the tempos are beautifully chosen and the woodwinds wonderfully highlighted.