Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

This is how it goes

April 27, 2008

Salonen at the podium
Photo : mine 2008

I must keep reminding myself that separation is a process. It will hurt less over time and things do get easier as life goes on. So it is with me, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the L.A. Philharmonic. With a little over a year to go until his departure, I find that I now believe myself about 4 times out of 10 when I tell myself that everything is going to be all right when he is gone. Every day things get a little better.

Of course, nights like yesterday's don’t necessarily help. Salonen was back in town for a series of concerts that will wrap up the 07/08 season in May. This weekend’s main event was an absolutely kick-ass rendition of Bruckner’s 6th Symphony. Clear, cool, and lyrical, it was a performance with insight and Salonen's own brand of detail we’ve come to love here in L.A. Those ringing, solid final notes of each movement were a wonder to hear. Is it crazy to say I'd have paid to hear Salonen lead this excellent group of musicians for those three or four notes alone? It’s like they’re a machine that can stop and turn in a new direction in a split second with no sign of effort. Mozart's clarinet concerto was also on the bill with the L.A. Phil's Michele Zukovsky as soloist. It was thoroughly enjoyable and a nice warm up for the Bruckner. These performances will conclude with a visit to the Segerstrom concert hall tomorrow afternoon.

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