Lionel Bringuier and members of the L.A. Philharmonic
Photo: mine 2010
What a difference a season makes. Why, it was only eight months ago that all the cool kids who write about music put together some piece on the changes in classical music in the U.S. with the arrival of Alan Gilbert at the helm of the New York Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles. Gilbert, we were told, was an excellent choice, but had work to do to get the N.Y. Phil back on track while Dudamel’s choice seemed a no-brainer. Oh, but how things have changed. Gilbert is conducting three universally lauded sold-out performances of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre
in New York while Dudamel has been sent back to the showers after leading bloated old-standards all over the country.
Given this reversal of fortune, it was best that the last WDCH performance
from the L.A. Phil for the 09/10 season this weekend highlighted what is, was, and always will be the best thing about them, the great musicians that make up the orchestra to begin with. The program which included the Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Dutilleux’ Metaboles
, and Stravinsky’s Firedbird Suite
, wasn’t earth shattering, but it was played exceptionally well. All of this was under the guidance of an exceptionally talented young conductor, Lionel Bringuier, who has the benefit of not having to heal the sick, raise people out of poverty, or fix the gulf oil spill. He just got to do what he does well, lead the orchestra in music without having to stretch it beyond recognition in the service of making some statement.
The Sibelius solo was played by Julian Rachlin with accuracy and skill. Bringuier kept it moving, though it probably could have been a bit more focused at times. The orchestra works in the second half seemed more to his liking. Dutilleux’ Metaboles
is one of those works that calls for a huge orchestra but only rarely allows them to play together instead focusing on outbreaks of sound from here and there around the stage. There is an organic feel to the music that seems to develop out of its own workings as the title might suggest. The Firebird
suite is always a nice way to close a season and Bringuier made the most of an orchestra that knows its way around a Stravinsky score. It was a lovely show and it reminded me of exactly how much I’m going to miss the L.A. Phil until October when they are finally released from the purgatory of the Hollywood Bowl.
Labels: LA Philharmonic 09/10