Zubin Mehta, , and the Vienna Philharmonic
Photo: mine 2009
Zubin Mehta returned to Los Angeles this week, but not to conduct our local orchestra, with whom he’s had such a long-standing relationship. Instead, he’s on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic conducting a variety of pieces near and dear to his heart. It was a big turn-out at Walt Disney Concert Hall, which probably speaks mostly to the affection for Mehta in this town. The performance I caught on Tuesday included an all-Austrian program of Wolf’s Italian Serenade
, four songs from Joseph Marx, and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony. Mehta was clearly excited about the evening and told us all from the stage at the end of a fourth “curtain call” that he’d been dreaming of performing for us in L.A. with “this orchestra" since 1962. And it was quite a worthwhile evening. The Bruckner was pretty magnificent and the immense skill of one of the world’s finest orchestras was on display. The power was amazing, but never completely over the top. The pizzicato alone was worth the price of admission but the gorgeous sound of the brass was equally remarkable. This orchestra clearly knew what it was doing, and Mehta delivered a superb performance with them.
The first half was lighter fare if not without its charms. The Wolf serenade was brief and light but played with the right touch. Meanwhile, the Marx songs were given very robust and serious treatment for works not always thought of as top rung. The soloist was soprano, Angela Maria Blasi, and, although she did get lost at times amidst the sound roaring behind her, it was a highly felt and very enjoyable performance of something you don’t hear every day. All and all not too shabby - and not a note of J. Strauss to boot. There's another program
tonight with Lang Lang playing Chopin, if you're so inclined, but I believe it may be sold out, so call first.
Labels: Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta