The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra concluded their 2013/2014 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall with three great performances conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. The Sunday afternoon performances of Mozart’s Serenatta Notturna and Symphony No. 36, “Linz” bookended Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with Hélène Grimaud at the piano. All of the works were received with enthusiastic ovations including a triple curtain call for Maestro Dudamel and Ms. Grimaud’s performance.
Maestro Dudamel unfolded each Mozart with profound richness of detail and warmth of tone. Serenta Notturna captured Mozart’s impeccable classical pedigree during the opening movement’s majestic March. The minuet and trio were for the percussionless group, while the concluding Rondo reverted to the small orchestra.
The first movement of Symphony No. 36, “Linz” began with a tension-filled slow introduction before Dudamel launched the orchestra into its blazing Allegro. In the subsequent Adagio the trumpets and drums transformed the aria into something, deeper, darker, even ominous. Dudamel’s gestures often indicate certain cues and at one point his pompous-like gesture cued the Minuet. His cues for the Trio, with its duet for oboe and bassoon, were regal and elegant. Dudamel conducted the dazzling finale that was filled with a profusion of thematic ideas with expertise and style.
Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G is an extraordinary work. From the first opening orchestral chords and Ms. Grimaud’s arpeggios, the scope of Gershwin’s influence upon the epic concerto was clearly announced. Ms. Grimaud, dressed in a lovely white pantsuit, dazzled her audience from the very beginning with her grace and style. Noted for her technical prowess, she ripped through the first movement with virtuosic playing as she clearly felt the music instinctively. The second movement was so serene the audience was transfixed by its great beauty and finesse of the woodwinds. During the finale, she erupted and at its conclusion, so did the audience. To learn more about the 2014/2015 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, please visit their website.