De Burgos with the LA Philharmonic
Photo: mine 2008
Is it wrong to crow about Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos? Maybe it’s me, but he’s not the first name to leap to mind when you think of hot conductors. He certainly doesn’t have the profile of a media darling like Dudamel. (Don't worry his overrated ass will be back in town again the next two weeks.) But I’ll tell you what. De Burgos frequently visits Los Angeles, and he typically delivers a show as strong as those we had this weekend with the L.A. Philharmonic. At 75, he can still turn it out with the best of them. So while he may not be fresh or sexy, he's got it, and the Philharmonic members appear generally happy to be performing with him.
My expectations were low with a program that is as uninspiring as you can get: a Mozart Serenade, Beethoven’s 8th, and not only the Fountains
but The Pines of Rome
thrown in for good measure. But it was really very good. The Respighi was full-bodied and brassy without any fuss. The Beethoven was even better. And while this may not have been some sort of critical reassessment, it’s the kind of impeccable playing that is hard to resist.
Lively and well paced, this unapologetically user-friendly afternoon represents the kind of playing that got the Los Angeles Philharmonic on this week’s list of the top 10 orchestras in the world in Gramophone
Magazine. I suppose this may have been news to some, but for those of us on the West Coast, it was already a well-known fact.
Labels: LA Philharmonic 08/09