Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond


April 22, 2007

Salonen, Mullova, and the LA Phil
Photo: mine 2007
The LA Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen took a detour of sorts this weekend in the midst of their Tristan shows for some more traditional orchestral concert programming. Since our local ensemble will be in New York for the next couple of weeks, it was the time for a little teaser. Namely, a program featuring the Beethoven violin concerto and Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite. Sibelius will figure prominently into several programs opening up the Philharmonic's 07/08 season in October as Salonen will lead the group in performance of all 7 symphonies and a handful of other pieces as well. In case anyone had forgotten why this is exciting news, our illustrious maestro provided a distinct reminder of his prowess in conducting Sibelius' work. Lean and mean with incredible attention to detail, Salonen & Co. wowed the Saturday audience with a response almost as enthusiastic as the Tristan performances and that is saying a lot.

Before we got to the ringing nordic beauty of the Sibelius though, there was the matter of the Beethoven. It was fine but not much more. The soloist was Viktoria Mullova who seemed like she wasn't completely there. I though her attack was sloppy, but I've heard much worse. The orchestra however performed admirably and it was a wonderful afternoon all around.

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