Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Friday, March 08, 2013

China National Symphony Orchestra March 7, 2013

China National Symphony Orchestra Goes Big and Bold at Cerritos

                   By Glen Creason

    The opportunity to hear a full orchestra at the Performing Arts Center drew many out on a blustery winter’s eve but there was plenty of heat inside as the China National Symphony Orchestra filled the stage and stretched the acoustics of the fine hall to the limits. Many in the audience may have come to hear Richard Strauss’ truly heroic “Ein Heldenleben” in the second half but it was the two lesser known compositions by Chinese composers that really surprised and delighted. “Earth Requiem” dedicated to the victims of the tragic 2008 earthquake in China by Xia Guan began the evening and was a wakeup call in every respect. With a pensive and evocative beginning, conductor En Shao turned the orchestra towards the heavens and actually managed to sonically gaze at the stars with a huge, almost planetary response. It is not often the Center vibrates to its foundations but with near one hundred players on stage the effect was amazing. The second piece “Butterfly Lovers Concerto” was nothing of the “bubble-blowing hippies” sound of the title but a vigorous and emotional journey lead by violin soloist Chianyun Li who attacked the many demands of the much more Chinese influenced concerto like a hurdler hitting them in stride. The big orchestra was behind him and once in a while beside him taking turns being intimate then large, like Vista Vision large. No one was dozing in the genuinely astounded audience.
     The second half brought the Strauss and another muscular reading by En Shao, highlighted by some delightful musical statements made by the composer way back in 1899. The six part “Hero’s Life” was filled with sound and fury but marked by a beautiful violin solo in the third section and a remarkably dramatic and percussion rich “the Hero at Battle” that would have satisfied a gamer teen. There were other delights: offstage trumpet fanfares, a double tuba expression of disdain for the hero’s critics and a wonderful English horn solo in the final segment.  The only thing a little awkward on this night was the disjointed curtain calls that did not seem to elicit an encore.


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