Dudamel hugs Gil Shaham under the watchful eye of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Photo: mine 2009
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dud-amel pulls out the Mozart. Yikes. This weekend’s show
, which included Mozart’s Symphonies number 38 and 41, was probably the worst so far this season. It was certainly the most torturous. To put it in the simplest terms that’s about 75 minutes worth of music and with an intermission, the evening took 150 minutes. And that wasn’t due to an unusually delayed starting time or surprisingly lengthy ovations. It was old-fashioned go-slower-than-molasses pacing. It’s not that Dudamel has no ideas. It’s just the ones he has are typically bad. Both Mozart pieces strained from an effort to maximize their lyrical lines as if they had been composed in the 19th century. There was nothing light or fleet about either performance and the tempos were often so ponderously slow that one movement was nearly indistinguishable from the next. Apparently without the score our young maestro gets a little confused about when they are playing Mahler and when they are not. And while our local print media dinosaur
would like to convince you that such conducting nonsense is an expression of adoration or a Viennese flair, the reality is that it's just unpleasant. What I wouldn’t give for just a little variety of approach right now over at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Sandwiched between the tortures, was the Berg violin concerto with Gil Shaham playing the solo part. And through no fault of his own, the piece came off studied and deliberate. Shaham is no slouch and, though he often got run over by the orchestra, there were some beautiful moments here. The concluding movement was especially touching. But it almost seemed that the orchestra stumbled into it. The piece was not what it could have been in more experienced conducting hands and only rarely approached the brilliance one usually associates with the work. If there’s any consolation here, it’s that there are only three remaining Dudamel led concerts for the entire 09/10 season by my count. It’s a sick and twisted world when you start looking forward to visits from Lorin Maazel as relief from the everyday. But so it goes.
Labels: LA Philharmonic 09/10