LA Phil Blog

First Stop: A "Standing O" in San Fran!

First Stop: A "Standing O" in San Fran!

The crowd on its feet after last night's concert inside San Francisco's Davies Hall.

The LA Phil's first stop along our North American Tour was a wild success! With San Francisco's gorgeous Davies Hall as the backdrop, Gustavo Dudamel and the orchestra brought the audience to its feet after stirring performances of John Corigliano's First Symphony and Tchaikovsky's Fifth.

Richard Scheinin's piece in the San Jose Mercury News applauded the LA Phil for unearthing Corigliano's "remarkable work, a 40-minute howl from the composer's soul that, criminally, is not often performed." 

The performance was immensely powerful, visceral, whipping between tender agonies and hammer blows. After a quarter century, Corigliano's opus can stand as a universal commentary on life and fate -- and Dudamel, cagily, packaged it with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, with which the Russian expressed his own feelings of "complete resignation before Fate," as he once explained.

The cheering following Tchaikovsky's Fifth was especially passionate, according to SF Classical Music Examiner Stephen Smoliar: one can believe that Tchaikovsky composed that coda to trigger spontaneous outbursts of “Bravo!” from the audience; and that is exactly what Dudamel got. Indeed, it was one of those nights when shouting “Bravo!” louder than everyone else seemed to be more of a priority than listening to the music. Hmmm ... For more on what made last night so memorable, including more on Dudamel's interpretation of Corigliano's First Symphony, check out the full article.

Music Critic Mark Swed's review of the recent Los Angeles concert was also a pretty good indicator that this program would be a hit on the road:

John Corigliano wrote his Symphony No. 1 in 1988 on a grand scale for an extravagant-sized orchestra ... The composer didn't call it a war symphony, but that is what it is, an epic orchestral score for an epic tragedy, the AIDS epidemic. The L.A. Phil — with heart-stopping solos from cellists Robert deMaine and Ben Hong and pianist Joanne Pearce Martin — was the Technicolor applied to the large symphonic screen. In shorting lives, AIDS sped up life, and so does Corigliano in 42 minutes … It begins as a lullaby, and Dudamel treated that as if it were a meditation on birth and ripening maturity. He thickened mellow inner voices. He looked for ways to find expression in details yet maintained a large illuminating line ... Corigliano's symphony is a study in what, in our minds, connects and what doesn't, as we begin to lose them. Dudamel used Brahms to put everything together.

Some backstage fanfare with Gustavo Dudamel and LA Phil Creative Chair John Adams.

This evening's concert features Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason’s work “Blow Bright” with Brahms' Symphony No. 2 and Rachmaninoff's raucous Third, "the Rach 3." (The audience will get to see powerhouse Yuja Wang tackle this last beast.) We can't wait for another glorious night! Stay tuned ...

Yuja Wang selects her piano for tonight's performance inside Davies Concert Hall.