Live Chamber Music: A Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra a la carte concert with violinists Margaret Batjer and Julie Gigante

By Don Heckman

“Making great music personal.” It’s a Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra slogan. And it fits perfectly in sync with LACO’s performances, which bring a deep sense of musical intimacy to everything they play, from Baroque classics to new contemporary perspectives.

Among the events that best reflect the slogan are the fund-raising LACO a la carte series. Presented at international residences throughout Los Angeles, they feature chamber music performed by LACO’s fine artists in up close and personal settings, usually at the fine homes of international diplomats.

Last Saturday, the opening concert in this season’s LACO a la carte was a prime example of the various pleasures in the programs. Start with the setting, which was the exquisite Hollywood Hills home of Giuseppe Perrone, the Consul General of Italy. The artists were violinists Margaret Bajer and Julie Gigante, who performed in a drawing room within a few feet of an enthusiastic audience.

When Bajer and Gigante concluded their program, the listeners were invited to an outdoor pool area to share a festive evening of Italian cuisine and beverages. Not exactly the setting of an 18th century aristocratic performance of a new work by Mozart. But close. And there was no denying the blend of delights in the setting, the music and the cuisine.

Still, for the most avid chamber music aficionados in the crowd, it was the continuing fascination of the two violin ensemble that provided an irresistible attention-grabber.

Margaret Batjer and Julie Gigante
Margaret Batjer and Julie Gigante

The program opened with a pair of works by Luigi Boccherini and Giovanni Vioti. Both were classical era composers who were also string instrumentalists. And their articulate familiarity with the violin was present in the works performed on the program. In the hands of Bajer and Gigante each of the works – both for two violins – came vividly to life.

So, too, for their rendering of a pair of compositions by Mozart and Vivaldi. The Mozart selection included a two-violin rendering of arias from Abduction from the Seraglio, performed with soaring lyricism by Bajer and Gigante. And when the masterful violin duo got to Vivaldi’s Sonata for Two Violins they made the most of both the melodic and structural repetitions that Vivaldi brought to so many of his numerous compositions.

Call it a memorable evening – as one is motivated to do by so many Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performances. And one left the magnificent setting of Consul General Perrone’s beautiful home and the superb playing of Margaret Bajer and Julie Gigante looking forward to the next LACO a la carte event – a string quartet program which takes place Sat., Oct. 5. in an Iranian setting. Click HERE for more information about all the LACO a la carte programs.

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Photo by Faith Frenz

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