California, and in particular Los Angeles, seems as much a place of figurative darkness as of its famous, ever-present sunlight and star-powered dazzle factor. The artist trying to create something that brings a place alive in the audience's imagination has to encompass the whole felt reality -- yin, yang and everything in between -- of a particular region and time. That's what composer John Adams did in City Noir. The orchestral piece was inspired by Adams' interest in the California culture of the 1940s and '50s; it is one part of his Golden State triptych that includes El Dorado and The Dharma at Big Sur. City Noir has never been played in St. Louis until today, when it premieres at 10:30 a.m. at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.stlsymphony.org). The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, of course, does the musical honors, and tickets range from $27 to $108. There is a second performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 16.
Fri., Feb. 15; Sat., Feb. 16, 2013