Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Lawyers Philharmonic Lights Up Law Library
By MARC B. HAEFELE, Staff Writer
The worn yet ornate spines of tomes such as “Statues, Amendments and Codes,” and “California Appellate Reports” looked out upon a formal and happy crowd of lawyer and jurist music lovers at the Los Angeles Law Library Monday night.
It was the third anniversary of that singular local institution, the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic, celebrating a belated Law Day with a euphonious and seemly presentation of music from over two centuries, under the baton of attorney-maestro Gary S. Greene.
Beloved thespian June Lockhart presented Greene’s band with a cheery envoi: “The Orchestra is founded on the notion that lawyers and judges can make music together.” It gave its debut performance in the library two years ago, making this its Third Anniversary Concert.
Los Angeles County Bar Association President Alan K, Steinbrecher, of Steinbrecher & Span LLP, complimented the orchestra’s founder. “Gary has made it possible for music to bring together attorneys and judges for this higher purpose. He put it together all by himself, and he’s been growing it ever since.”
Steinbrecher concluded: “What’s inspiring is the harmony of it. Imagine finding all these attorneys making harmony together.”
Looking out at the band, dressed to the nines in black tie and its feminine equivalent, a jaded observer might infer the only sign that it largely consisted of litigators and jurists was the fact that there was a larger than unusual preponderance of wind instruments among the 60 or so members present. This gave the band an unusually bright, live sound in the improvised library auditorium, a room that was, after all, designed for silence rather than music.
After “The Star Spangled Banner,” the program swung into an 18th Century mode, with the popular Handel aria “Where Ere You Walk” transcribed for trumpet solo, ably rendered by Jack Humes. Two Mozart selections followed—the first movement of the E-flat major Sinfonia Concertante, in which the solo wind ensemble distinguished itself but the band was otherwise a trifle rough, and a robust rendering of the aria “Non Piu Andrai,” by baritone Michael Margulies, who also functions as the Lawyers Philharmonic’s principal tuba player. There followed a selection from “Porgy and Bess;” “On the Trail” from Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” and Nino Rota’s “Love Theme” from “The Godfather.”
The surprise treat of the program Greene saved for last: “Ruritanian Dance No. 1” by George Palmer, a considerable composer who also happens to be a justice of Australia’s New South Wales Supreme Court. There may not be a country called Ruritania, but this piece was the real thing—a wild, Balkan sounding composition that just happened to have been written by an eminent 67-year-old jurist from Down Under. It garnered the ensemble some equally wild applause.
Greene promised the audience that his band will play Disney Hall June 30 for a full dress concert—including a lot more Gershwin. It’s going to be worth waiting for.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company