Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Passionate, ultra-Romantic, gorgeous music

Blu-ray with a large-screen HD TV and surround-sound was made for concerts like this. Recorded live on August 2, 2016 for NPR's Great Performances, this is a delight from beginning to end. There's a real sense of presence at a significant event, and the LA Philharmonic respond with standout playing. The crowd is into this program completely; they're especially enamoured of guitarist Angel Romero, looking fabulous in his many-coloured shirt. Dudamel, as always, is a charismatic figure, but he's often the still, calm centre when things get exciting with the dancing of Tango Buenos Aires and the always inventive orchestration of three great composers from Argentina. Ginastera's Dances from Estancia have the odd hint of modernism, but remain accessible; their rhythms are often much more complex than the tangos and milongas of the rest of the program, but Dudamel and his superb musicians handle them with ease. Lalo Schifrin brings his entire musical life into his Concierto de la Amistad, which receives its world premiere here. Schifrin played piano in Piazzolla's band in Paris in 1955; he worked with Dizzy Gillespie later in the 50s; and he became a household name with his film and movie scores with a huge filmography in the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st. It was great to hear the audience's response when Dudamel brought him out after the Concierto, and touching to see Schifrin, Dudamel and Romero hugging. Music by Astor Piazzolla begins and ends the program, with fabulous support from the dancers of Tango Buenos Aires and Seth Asamow on bandoneon. This passionate, ultra-Romantic, gorgeous music is just the thing to watch in the evening after a hard day reviewing Arnold Schoenberg.

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