The La Jolla Symphony.

The March 18 and 19 concerts by the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, “conducted by Michael Gerdes, consisted of Brahms’ ‘German’ Requiem, the premiere of ‘An Elemental Music’ by UCSD doctoral student Alex Stephenson, and Missy Mazzoli’s ‘Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres),’ “ writes Christian Herzog in Monday’s (3/20) San Diego Union-Tribune (login required). “Mazzoli describes her piece as ‘music in the shape of a solar system, a collection of rococo loops that twist around each other within a larger orbit.’ If you listen for that, it’s a handy way to process ‘Sinfonia.’ Of course it’s a compositional sleight of hand on her part, since she created the loops and decided how our attention should be directed. But yes … ‘Sinfonia’ does sound like musical orbits coming into focus and drifting away….. If ‘Sinfonia’ seemed all inspiration, Stephenson’s piece was the opposite, revealing careful construction…. No matter his harmonic language, his musical gestures are patently clear, and in ‘An Elemental Music,’ he has reached a new pinnacle of simplicity and directness. It struck me as very Stravinskian, from its opening C dominant seventh chord to its juxtapositions of different materials.”