The La Jolla SummerFest concert on August 21 presented a beautifully performed program that captured that late Romantic flowering of French chamber music from Charles Gounod to Maurice Ravel.
Thursday, August 16, La Jolla SummerFest featured Marc-André Dalbavie’s stunning Quartet for Piano and Strings, a La Jolla Music Society commission premiered here in 2012, and paired it with Pierre Jalbert’s 2017 Piano Quintet, an equally impressive work which the La Jolla Music Society co-commissioned.
The August 14 SummerFest concert offered an embarrassment of riches, from the warmth and allure of Joaquin Turina’s “Escena Andaluza,” to Claude Debussy’s profound yet unsentimental Cello Sonata, to Lei Liang’s extravagantly exciting new “Vis-à-vis” for Pipa and Percussion, to Gustav Mahler’s transcendent Rückert-Lieder song cycle to Alberto Ginestera’s breathtaking String Quartet No. 1.
Opera NEO produced a musically sparkling although spare production Mozart’s early opera “Idomeneo” as part of this year’s Opera NEO Summer Opera Festival and Workshop at the outdoor Palisades Presbyterian Amphitheater in Allied Gardens
As a salute to the UC San Diego Department of Music, La Jolla SummerFest’s host for most of the 2018 music festival’s concerts, Music Director Cho-Liang Lin featured two of the university’s resident composers in his festival’s annual program of contemporary music: Rand Steiger’s new work “Tropes” and Lei Liang’s 2005 “Serashi Fragments.”
Even if the classical music community were not observing Leonard Bernstein’s centennial year, Nina Bernstein Simmons’ program “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein” for La Jolla SummerFest would have provided a well-spent evening.