Gustavo Dudamel making waves in the Boston Globe's Arts section.
The LA Phil has packed up for LA and the reviews are in! Our North American Tour was a tremendous success. But don't take it from us ...
The Boston Globe's Jeremy Eichler really enjoyed the Phil's final concert, as "Making Waves at Symphony Hall" details. Eichler also had this to say about our orchestra itself:
The orchestra continues to be an industry leader in terms of innovation in programming and educational outreach. One of its clear areas of focus, first developed by former music director Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonic’s president, Deborah Borda, has been to place the music of living composers closer to the center of the orchestra’s mission.
David Wright of the Boston Classical Review liked our Maestro's exhuberance and our "Technicolor performances," among other many other things.
Toronto's National Post reviewer Arthur Kaptainis saw it a little differently ... "Dudamel generally keeps his face forward and his arms spread wide, queuing entries with zenlike discipline."
Musical America's Sedgwick Clark thought the Los Angeles Philharmonic "played better for him than ever" at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. He also had some compliments for our talented orchestra members:
The solo horn, Andrew Bain, played with eloquence and warmth in his many solos, and Joseph Pereira, a student of the New York Philharmonic’s late, great timpanist Roland Kohloff, provided dynamism and rhythmic punctuation to passages that in other hands too often turn soggy.
The New York Classical Review summed up the general feeling at the end of all of this tour's performances nicely:
Another roaring ovation ensued, and the Philharmonic responded with the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, playing with a delightful combination of charm and swagger.
Sophia Vastek, also from the New York Classical Review found Yuja Wang's playing "flawless" and Gustavo Dudamel's conducting "utterly Brahmsian."
We even passed some serious muster with the "gray lady" ... Anthony Thomassini's very favorable New York Times review credits Gustavo Dudamel's conducting, our players, our concert hall and the LA Phil itself. (We're a "solid success story.") ("The visceral excitement of the playing under Mr. Dudamel was consistently impressive.")
The concert opened with Daníel Bjarnason’s “Blow Bright,” commissioned by the LA Phil and premiered this past December. The work’s inspiration came from the Icelandic composer’s reaction to the Pacific Ocean, as well as his experience working with electronic effects. The piece included acoustic manifestations of those effects, creating a soundscape of unceasing rush and ebb that was reminiscent without being literal. The strings shimmered on harmonics sparked by percussive hits, piccolo, and abrupt bass slaps. Bowed percussion set up concertmaster Martin Chalifour’s taut, then tender, solo, the grace notes glinting.
Jeff Dunn of the San Franciso Classical Voice stated that he was "so taken by the Phil’s Brahms, (he) wouldn’t have been distracted even if Dudamel himself had worn high heels."
The San Francisco Examiner praised Gustavo Dudamel's "balance" and "sensitivity" with regard to Brahms Second Symphony, but reviewer Stephen Smoliar definitely had eyes for Yuja Wang.
The more I listen to Wang’s concerto performances, the more impressed I become with the way in which she approaches her solo work. She always has a clear sense of when she is presenting thematic material and when she is exploring its embellishment. She is particularly aware of how some of her most demanding virtuosic passages are actually embellishing thematic lines coming from the orchestra; and she has a remarkable gift for finding just the right dynamic level through which her own “thread” fits into the overall instrumental fabric. One comes away from one of her performances with the impression that she has thoroughly studied not only her own part but the entire orchestral score.
The San Francisco Chronicle's music critic, Joshua Kosman, touted the amazing Yuja Wang's "powerhouse performance" and concertmaster Martin Chalifour's violin solo in his review of the Davies Hall performance.
Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun reported that the Kennedy Center concert displayed Gustavo Dudamel's ability to draw out the best in his "intrepid" players. Smith had more to say about our dynamic Music Director:
The conductor's sense of drama and tension, his willingness to let a phrase get extra breathing room or take on extra expressive import, his keen attention to dynamic contrasts -- all of that paid dividends repeatedly (and often reminded me often of a conductor who was a member of the large audience, National Symphony music director Christoph Eschenbach).
The Washington Post's Anne Midgette concluded her own article on the LA Phil's performances in our nation's capitol thusly:
In the final movement, conductor and orchestra grabbed hold of the music with both hands and shook it fiercely, unrelentingly, ever building through its several climactic sequences, through to the end, a feat of physical endurance that left the audience braced and breathless.
... And on that note ... We'll be catching on our collective breath back at Walt Disney Concert Hall. More photos and reflections on an incredible 2014 tour to come!