REVIEW: L.A. Philharmonic open 2014-2015 season with scintillating Mahler

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Oct. 2 at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Lang: man made; Sō Percussion, soloists
Mahler: Symphony No. 5
Next performances: Tomorrow at 8 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m.

My review of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s season-opening concert is online at our papers’ Web site HERE.

Following are some of my additional thoughts on the concert:
• Taking bows continues to be an art form for Dudamel at Disney Hall, but each concert is different. Last night he waded into the orchestra and shook Neil’s hand first. In a later bow, he asked Hooten, Bain and other principals to stand, then sections — even some of the string sections were singled out (an unusual touch). Of course, Dudamel and the orchestra turned to those in seats behind the stage; the audience always loves that.

• Mark Swed’s review in the Los Angeles Times is HERE and Timothy Mangan’s take in the Orange County Register is HERE. Obviously they liked David Lang’s piece more than I did. That’s the fun of reading multiple reviews.

• Dudamel will lead the second week of concerts on Oct. 9, 10, 11 and 12 in a program of John Adams’ Harmonium, along with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor). Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Los Angeles Master Chorale will be the soloists. INFORMATION:

• Following those concerts Dudamel, who had an extremely busy summer, apparently will take a vacation from conducting for a month before returning to lead the Phil Nov. 20-23 (His Web site lists no concerts between the LAPO programs). INFO

(c) Copyright 2014, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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Five-Spot: What caught my eye on November 10, 2011

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily



Each Thursday morning, I list five events (six this week) that
peak my interest, including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at
a minimum, inexpensive tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:



Tomorrow and
Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Semyon Bychkov and the Labques

Bychkov, one of the hottest guest conductors around these
days, conducts Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic
to conclude the program. In the first half, the classical world’s
most popular piano duo, Katia and Marielle Labque, will play an arrangement of
Ravel’s Rapodie Espagnole for two
solo pianos and then join the Phil for the world premiere of Concerto for two pianos and double orchestra
by Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon. This will mark
the first concert appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall of Marielle with Bychkov, who is her husband. Information:


Saturday at 7:30
p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at The Women’s Club of South Pasadena

Celestial Opera: Purcell’s
Dido and Aeneas and Mozart’s The Impresario

The intrepid local opera company offers two one-act operas
sung in English with English supertitles, with sets and costumes, accompanied
by a string quartet and harpsichord (for the Purcell) and piano (for the
Mozart). I’ll have a preview story posted tomorrow on this Blog and in the
Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Whittier Daily News. Information:


Saturday at 8 p.m.
at Neighborhood Church, Pasadena

Musica Angelica
salutes its founders

Lutenist and guitarist John Schneidermann will join Hideki
Yamaya, guitar and lute, violinists Janet Strauss and Susan Feldman, cellist
William Skeen, tenor Daniel Plaster and Denise Bries on viola da gamba in a
program that honors Michael Eagan and Mark Chatfield, who founded Musica
Angelica in 1993. Eagan, a lute player, died in 2004, while Chatfield, a
cellist, passed away in 1998. The duo formed the ensemble that has become one
of the world’s Baroque music groups. The concert repeats Nov. 13 in Santa
Monica. Information:


Sunday at 7 p.m. at
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles Master
Chorale: The Little Match Girl Passion

Grant Gershon conducts 32 members of the Chorale and solo
instrumentalists in The Little Match Girl
the Pulitzer Prize-winning work by David Lang, which is based on
the Hans Christian Andersen story and influenced by Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. This will be an
expanded version of the piece that was premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York
City. The program also includes the U.S. premiere of James Newton’s Mass and two Bach motets. Information:


Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
and 8:30 p.m. at the Show at Barre Theatre, Los Angeles

Susan Egan and
Georgia Stitt: The Secret of Happiness LIVE

Susan Egan originated the role of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and Beast musical on Broadway.
Georgia Stitt is an award-winning Broadway composer and arranger. Together,
they make a powerhouse team and this program features selections from their new
upcoming album. If you’re interested and/or intrigued, read the attendance
details carefully — this is a small theater. Information:


And the weekend’s “free admission” program …


Saturday at 2 p.m.
at Pasadena Christian Church

Sunday at 2 p.m. at First
Baptist Church of Pasadena

Crown City Symphony;
Marvin Neumann, conductor

Lawrence Sonderling, a member of the Los Angeles
Philharmonic’s violin section, will be the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin
Concerto. The program also includes Rossini’s Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25. Information:



(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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