‘Whoops of pleasure’…




Set in the crown of a Magyar evening at Walt Disney Concert Hall on January 18, 2013, a radiant, commanding Midori (www.gotomidori.com) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic swept aside the cobwebs of the conventional concerto experience in Peter Eötvös’s labyrinth of sound and architectural emotion; it was the world premiere of the 69-year old composer’s DoReMi, a Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, commissioned jointly by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the BBC Proms.


     The music is concerned with 21st century notions of tonal relationships, perhaps a Sudoku response to the anagrammatic existence of DoReMi in the soloist’s name. The impact was anything but intellectual and the music’s appeal was real and immediate; the audience became deeply absorbed from the opening bar and for its length of 20 unbroken minutes. Afterwards, they responded with great whoops of pleasure and repeated demands for curtain calls.

     Compared to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto of 2009–another recent Los Angeles Philharmonic concerto commission–Eötvös’s new spectacular has a less human, more alien narrative; his smallish orchestra (strings, brass and lots of woodwind doublings), infused with a battery of percussion instruments (and three percussionists) that shimmer, blast and otherwise find marvelous noises to make, creates an abstract, visually three-dimensional, sonic environment of high-sheen, high-tech fabric against, with and through the soloist is challenged to navigate. The challenge to the violinist—which Midori won so magnificently on opening night—lies in projecting the musical line with the power of an electric violin and the warmth of fine wine.

     A very young and powerful-sounding Philharmonic maximized the brilliance of Eötvös’s writing to the full, playing its part in pushing the soloist to the limit with energy and enthusiasm. They responded to guest conductor Pablo Heras-Casado’s precise, balletic urgings with the consummate virtuosity and open-hearted generosity that is becoming their trademark. The woodwind solos were unusually refreshing and brilliant in the Philharmonic’s other chores for the night, Kodaly’s Hary Janos Suite and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Review by Laurence Vittes and photo by Greenfield-Sanders

Published by on March 2013. Filed under Art-in-Performance Section, Reviews-other, Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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