Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

A Third of Beethoven

July 30, 2010

David Fray with Pablo Heras-Casado and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Photo: mine 2010

At the last minute, some friends of mine cajoled me into attending Thursday’s Los Angeles Philharmonic performance at the Hollywood Bowl. It was typical summertime fare, two thirds of Beethoven – a piano concerto and a symphony. The orchestra was under a recent young favorite here, Pablo Heras-Casado. I’ve thought his leadership admirable in the past, and he and the orchestra sounded strong throughout on a cloudless and airplaneless Thursday night. Heras-Casado doesn’t seem as desperate as other young conductors to cram everything with “new” perspective and is able to elicit a clean and dynamic sound. The piano concerto was up first with soloist David Fray, a young man who seemed tall and gangly on the Hollywood Bowl stage. He nearly hunched over the keyboard with an intensity of concentration. But interestingly, the piece sounded quiet and subdued with an almost intimate chamber music quality throughout all of the three movements. For a player with a reputation for quirky mannerisms and gregariousness, Fray came off as unexpectedly restrained. Granted, some of this may have been due to the nature of hearing the sound through less than stellar amplification, but still there was a remarkable quietness even in the outer movements that was attractive.

The “Eroica” was a little less successful and engaging. There were certainly some very good moments across the piece including the first several minutes of the first movement. But it was just as likely to wander listlessly at other times into a haze. The fierce and fragile detail of the scherzo was somewhat lost in the Bowl. But Heras-Casado still remains one of the most exciting young conductors around and his engagement next season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on November 5,6,and 7, leading works from Stravinsky and Takemitsu, is definitely worth looking forward to.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Opera Reviews '10-'11

Opera Reviews '09-'10

Opera Reviews '06-'09

L.A. Phil Reviews '09/'10

L.A. Phil Reviews '08/'09

L.A. Theater Reviews


Follow Along


Los Angeles

Follow me on Twitter