REVIEW: La Jolla SummerFest Opens with a Sophisticated Musical Menagerie

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 5, 2018

This season of La Jolla SummerFest brings down the curtain on Music Director Cho-Liang Lin’s superb 18-year tenure with the festival. From the evidence of Friday’s (August 3) opening night concert at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, he is not leaving quietly.

At the heart of this luxurious chamber program—which began with Béla Bartók’s overwhelming “Contrasts” for clarinet, violin, and piano and ended with the entertaining Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns—we heard two of the Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras suites, No. 1 and No. 5. Although the composer’s fame rests heavily on these suites that fuse elements of Brazilian folk music with Bachian counterpoint, aficionados rarely hear them live because each requires eight cellists.