Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

Recordings of the week

July 20, 2007

Osvaldo Golijov's great luck with recordings of his work continues with this new disc from DG, Oceana. In addition to Golijov's revision of the original 1996 version of this title work that sets Pablo Neruda's poetry to music, the album features three songs the composer wrote specifically for Dawn Upshaw, recorded here for the first time in an amazingly moving version. She performed these songs live in LA earlier this year to much fanfare and here is backed by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Of course, the big news story this week was Alan Gilbert's appointment to head up the New York Philharmonic after Lorin Maazel's departure. I think it's great news and quite remarkable that the organization eschewed the storied European music directors it has favored over the last decades in favor of an American, with a strong interest in new music no less. Of course it's clear who's responsible for all this - Deborah Borda, Ernest Fleischman and the Los Angeles Philharmonic board. I should dare say that it was the bold appointment of Gustavo Dudamel as the LA Phil heir apparent that opened the door and upped the pressure on the NY Phil to do the right thing by shaking things up a bit in their selection of Maazel's successor. While we are all waiting to see how all this promise comes to fruition, there is the DG Concerts recording of Dudamel conducting the LA Philharmonic in Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra earlier this year that is now available on iTunes. And as for Gilbert, whom I absolutely love - don't worry New York, you can thank us later.

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