SAME-DAY REVIEW: Dudamel, L.A. Phil conclude Schubert symphony cycle elegantly

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

In his nine years as Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel has led several symphony cycles. The most famous was his “Mahler Project” in 2012, when Dudamel conducted the L.A. Phil and his Simón Bólivar Symphony Orchestra in all nine symphonies by Gustav Mahler (plus assorted other works). During his tenure, Dudamel has also led cycles of Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky symphonies.

However, when Dudamel programmed the entire symphonic output of Franz Schubert for this season, many were left scratching their collective heads. How many Schubert symphonies have you heard before this month? Two, of course — Nos. 8 and 9. No. 5, perhaps. Beyond that? In her preconcert lecture this afternoon, Dr. Lorraine Byrne Bodley, one of the world’s foremost Schubert experts, made a point of saying how impressed she was that Dudamel and the Phil would program all eight Schubert symphonies in a two-week stretch. “Some of the early works, in particular,” she noted, “are almost never played.”

The cycle concluded this afternoon at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the two most famous Schubert symphonies: No. 8 (“Unfinished”) and No. 9 (“The Great C-Major”). What made the day special was not just the orchestra’s superb playing nor Dudamel’s sensitive conducting. Instead, it was the fact that those who have been in attendance for the first three programs over a two-week period got to hear these last two within the context of what had come before.

In the space of just 11 years, beginning in 1813 when Schubert was age 16, he grew from teenage prodigy to the harbinger of the Romantic era to come, in particular the music of Brahms, Schumann and, yes, even Gustav Mahler whose song cycles Dudamel programmed in between each pair of Schubert’s works. Next season Dudamel tackles Robert Schmann’s symphonies, plus the composer’s concertos and a rarely performed stage work. It’s a fitting follow up to this cycle.

The gap between 1818, when Schubert completed his sixth symphony, and 1822, when No. 8 was “finished” was curiously wide, yet the maturity, complexity and brilliance of No. 8 stands worlds apart from his first six efforts (a seventh symphony was begun, but apparently never completed).

Yet, as the Phil’s cycle showed us, the eighth was, indeed, an outgrowth of his earlier works, albeit richer than the first six. The orchestral scoring for each symphony grew gradually and for the eighth symphony he added three trombones, which made for greater sonority. Moreover, in the Phil’s performances Principal Timpanist Joseph Periera eschewed the bright kettledrums he had used for the early symphonies in favor of the now-standard timpani used in the Mahler songs.

The eighth continues Schubert’s penchant of playing the winds against the strings. Dudamel — conducting without a score as he has done for all the symphonies — began the proceedings with a brisk tempo but relaxed as the measures spun out and highlighted that nearly constant dialogue between winds and strings. He received elegant playing from Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and the entire cello section in the two principal themes. The second movement, particularly the horns, had a sonorous, rich feeling with Dudamel quietly urging the work forward to its ambiguous end.

Much continues to be made as to why Schubert left this work unfinished — if, indeed, he did. There are piano sketches of a third movement and many scholars believe that the intra-act music of the opera Rosamunde may have been originally intended as a fourth movement for this symphony. Some believe that Schubert simply laid the work aside to continue other compositions. Others postulate that his battle with the effects of syphilis caused him to lay aside the 8th.

Yet every time I hear a performance as loving and lovely as we heard today, I remain tantalized by the thought that for Schubert the work was finished. He must have realized how great piece it was, although it’s inconceivable that he could have dreamed that 100 years after its composition it would be his most famous work.

As was the case on Thursday and Friday, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke was the soloist today, this time in four of Mahler’s songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn. As was the case Thursday night she sang with a luxurious tone and she was more animated and even playful in the first song than had been the case Thursday. As has been the case with all four song cycles, the last movement — this time with limpid oboe and trumpet solos — held the audience spellbound.

Symphony No. 9, which was completed in 1826, three years after the eighth, was yet another quantum leap forward in Schubert’s symphonic style. Schubert’s first six symphonies, in large measure, look backwards to his great idols: Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. His ninth, as I wrote earlier, looks forward, although Jeffrey Kahane made an impressive case last night for looking backwards, as well, when he led the Symphony No. 9 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LINK).

Partly due to the wonderful resonance of Disney Hall, the almost inaudible opening measures set the bar high for this superb performance. The Phil produced a deep luxuriant tone throughout the opening movement, aided immeasurably by burnished playing from horn player Amy Jo Rhine.

The second movement featured elegant solo work from Associate Principal Oboe Marion Arthur Kuszyk and the entire cello section.

The third movement was the one section in the entire cycle when Dudamel indulged his penchant for dancing on the podium, although as I have often noted he never makes a sway, swoop or gesture that doesn’t serve the music.

The final movement was taken at a majestic tempo. Dudamel built the performance inexorably to a grand conclusion that brought forth a fully justified standing ovation. He seemed particularly pleased with the playing today but really the smiles were for the entire two-week cycle.

Hemidemisemiquavers:

• As if the Schubert cycle wasn’t enough, Dudamel and the Phil conclude their 2016-2017 indoor season with a cycle of the three Bartok piano concertos, with Yuja Wang as soloist.

The concerts this Friday, Saturday and Sunday include the first piano concerto, paired with Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles and Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. The latter two pieces feature the Los Angeles Master Chorale, soloists and organist Ivet Apkalana. Informatioon: www.laphil.com

The concerts on June 1 and 2 feature Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 2, while the programs on June 3 and 4 revolve around his Piano Concerto No. 3. Both programs include Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Janáček’s Sinfonietta. Information: www.laphil.com
________________________

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email

OVERNIGHT REVIEW: Dudamel, L.A. Phil continue Schubert/Mahler cycle; Borda honored

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Los Angeles Philharmonic: Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Schubert: Symphony Nos. 5 and 6; Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder; Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Next performance: Tonight at 8 p.m. (see also Hemidemisemiquavers at the bottom of this review
Information: www.laphil.com

On a night at Walt Disney Concert Hall when the Los Angeles Philharmonic honored outgoing Deborah Borda, the orchestra’s music making was more important than the accolades for its outgoing President and Chief Executive Officer. That was only appropriate. As Borda noted in her remarks, “It all begins with the orchestra.”

The evening was the third of four programs pairing symphonies by Franz Schubert with a song cycle by Gustav Mahler, a series that Linda Shaver-Gleason noted, “features symphonies from a prolific songwriter and songs from a prominent symphonist, two figures on the end of the Romantic era.” In this case, the program was Schubert’s Symphony Nos. 5 and 6 with Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder.

Last night’s performance revealed just how far the young Schubert had come in the art and craft of the symphony — despite the fact that he was 19 when he wrote his fifth symphony and 21 when he completed his sixth. That maturation had been increasingly evident in the first four symphonies. In the fifth he took a radical turn. Heavily influenced by Mozart, Schubert’s fifth has no clarinets, trumpets or timpani and just one flute — as Dr. Lorraine Byrne Bodley noted in her thoughtful preconcert lecture, that’s the same scoring as Mozart used in his Symphony No. 40.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 is a light, airy work that was intended not for a concert hall but for a salon. Dudamel and the Phil made Disney Hall sound as intimate as a Viennese living room and Dudamel, conducting without a score as has been the case throughout the cycle, allowed the interplay between strings and winds to shine through clearly.

The tributes to Borda (pictured left) — who will become New York Philharmonic’s President/CEO on Sept. 15 — came between Schubert’s fifth and the Mahler, appropriate since the full-sized Phil was onstage for the latter. LAPO Board Chair Jay Rasulo made appropriate and brief remarks while Dudamel and Borda exchanged deeply felt words about her tenure with the orchestra, one of the highlights of which was her decision to hire Dudamel to succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen as the Phil’s music director in 2009.

Left unspoken was what was in a printed brochure distributed with to patrons that gave Borda’s bio and a timeline of her — and the orchestra’s — accomplishments since she was hired in 1999. On the back of the brochure was the announcement that the Phil has established the “Debora Borda Women in the Arts Initiative,” to “support the participation of emerging female artists — conductors, musicians, vocalists and designers — in LA Phil performances and on its artistic staff.” This sort of seems like bringing coals to Newcastle, but it’s nice to formalize efforts that have been ongoing throughout Borda’s tenure.

Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke was the soloist in Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder last night; she was a last-minute replacement for Elīna Garanča, who withdrew for “personal reasons.” Fine by me — Cooke’s reading of Mahler’s treatment of Frederich Rückert’s texts was appropriately understated, delivered with a lusciously creamy voice.

Dudamel and the Phil provided sensitive accompaniment and, as was the case with the first two song cycles in this series, the final movement — “In bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,” with Carolyn Hove’s elegant solos on the oboe d’amore — left the audience spellbound.

Schubert originally called his Symphony No. 6 his “Grosse Sinfonie in C” but dropped the appellation after writing his final symphony, which became known by that title. In what we now know as “The Little C-Major,” Schubert returned to the scoring he had used in his Symphony No. 4, adding back in two clarinets, two trumpets and timpani (Principal Timpanist Joseph Peirera used the same period instrument-style kettle drums that he has employed for the cycle).

In writing his sixth symphony, Schubert was influenced by the Italian music style that was prevalent in Vienna during the second decade of the 1800s, particularly Antonio Salieri (with whom Schubert studied), and Rossini, who was extremely popular during that time. Dudamel and the orchestra delivered the work with sparkle and wit.

Hemidemisemiquavers:
• After this program repeats tonight, the cycle concludes Saturday and Sunday with performances of Schubert’s eighth and ninth symphonies, paired with Mahler’s Songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn, with Cooke as soloist. Information: www.laphil.com
• If you like to compare and contrast, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 is also on the program for this weekend’s Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra programs, Jeffrey Kahane’s final concerts as LACO music director. As I noted in my “Five Spot” post (LINK), you can either catch Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 played by LACO on Saturday and the L.A. Phil on Sunday, or you’ve even got time to hear both ensembles on Sunday. Information: www.laco.org
• For those keeping track of numbers, there is no completed edition of Schubert Symphony No. 7 (LINK), although some people renumber Symphony Nos. 8 and 9 as Nos. 7 and 8.
________________________

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email

FIVE SPOT: May 17-22, 2017

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Each week about this time I list five (more or less) classical-music programs in Southern California (more or less) during the next seven days (more or less) that might be worth attending.

It’s not unusual to have the same piece show up on two different ensembles’ programs within the same season. Last month we had Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 played a week apart by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony. However, this weekend we have two ensembles playing the same major work on the same days!

MAY 18 AND 19: L.A. PHIL’S SCHUBERT SERIES CONTINUES
8 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
Gustavo Dudamel concludes his Schubert/Mahler cycle with two different programs this week. Thursday and Friday, it’s Schubert’s fifth and sixth symphonies paired with Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as soloist (she’s a powerhouse replacement for Elīna Garanča, who withdrew for “personal reasons”).

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via Metro’s Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.com

MAY 18, 19 AND 20: MOZART MEETS “DON QUXIOTE”
8 p.m. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; Costa Mesa
Carl St.Clair leads the Pacific Symphony in a program that features Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, with Orli Shaham as soloist, and Richard Strauss’ tone poem Don Quixote, with Timothy Landauer, the orchestra’s principal cellist, as soloist.

BONUS: Timothy Mangan, the orchestra’s new writer-in-residence, has a thoughtful article on Strauss’ piece HERE.

Information: www.pacificsymphony.org

MAY 20: DRUM SUMMIT: MUSIC OF STEVE REICH
8 p.m. First Presbyterian Church; Santa Monica
Jacaranda’s Percussion Ensemble honors the 80th birthday of Steve Reich with a performance of Reich’s Drumming; Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices & Organ.

BONUS: The church is about a 10-minute walk from the downtown Santa Monica stop on Metro’s Expo Line (the line’s final stop). If you arrive early, there are plenty of places to eat in the Third St. Promenade, which is one route to the church.

Information: www.jacarandamusic.org

MAY 20 AND 21: JEFFREY KAHANE’S FINAL CONCERTS AS LACO MUSIC DIRECTOR
8 p.m. Saturday at Alex Theatre; Glendale
7 p.m. Sunday at UCLA’s Royce Hall
With these concerts Jeffrey Kahane concludes his 20-year reign as Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s music director. The program contains a first and two lasts: the world premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s Will There Be Singing, Schubert’s final symphony, No 9 (“The Great C-Major”) and Mozart’s final piano concerto, No. 27 n B-flat major, K.595, with Kahane as soloist and conducting from the keyboard.

Information: www.laco.org

MAY 20 AND 21: DUDAMEL AND L.A. PHIL’S CONCLUDE SCHUBERT/MAHLER SERIES
8 p.m. Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday
at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
If you’re really into compare and contrast, this is your weekend! You can either catch Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 played by LACO on Saturday and the L.A. Phil on Sunday, or you’ve even got time to hear both ensembles on Sunday.

Dudamel’s program also includes Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony and Mahler’s Songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn, with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as soloist (again, as Thursday and Friday, she is serving as a great sub for Elīna Garanča, who withdrew for “personal reasons”).

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via Metro’s Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.com

MAY 22: IVETA APKALNA, ORGANIST
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna will make her Disney Hall debut in the final recital of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2016-2017 organ series. Apkalna — titular organist of the Klais organ at the newly opened Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg — will play music by Aivars Kalējs, Thierry Escaich, Philip Glass, Johann Sebastian Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich, Franz Liszt, and George Thalben-Ball.

Apkalna will also appear next weekend with Dudamel and the LAPO in a performance of Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. Information: www.laphil.com

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via Metro’s Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information for May 22: www.laphil.com
_______________________

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email

OVERNIGHT REVIEW: Dudamel, L.A. Phil continue Schubert/Mahler cycle at Disney Hall

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conducting
Schubert: Symphony No. 3 and No. 4.
Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder; Matthias Goerne, baritone, soloist
Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
Next performances: May 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.
Information: www.laphil.com

When the Los Angeles Philharmonic announced that it would play all eight of Schubert’s published symphonies over a two-week cycle this month — two symphonies paired with a Mahler song cycle in each concert — I wondered how the Schubert works, particularly his early efforts, would fare against the better-known Mahler groupings. I should have had more faith in Gustavo Dudamel.

As is often the case, I have underestimated the Phil’s music and artistic director, who has — with the orchestra playing beautifully — made each of the first four symphonies both a jewel and a perfect complement to the Mahler song cycles.

The angst emanating from Dudamel’s release of a letter imploring Venezuela’s government to find a way to end the violence in his native country seemed to have dissipated by last night at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Unlike last week, Dudamel was his normally animated, fully involved self on the podium last night, conducting the Schubert symphonies, which — as last week — he led from memory, with easy assurance.

Symphony No. 3 in D Major, D. 200 showed how Schubert was continuing to evolve as a composer even beyond his first two efforts. Written in 1815, when Schubert was age 18, the work continues to show the influences of Haydn and Mozart, but also of Beethoven — who was writing his seventh and eighth symphonies at the same time — and also of Rossini.

Like his first two symphonies, Schubert continues to spotlight the wind sections in this sunny work, which plays to the Phil’s strengths, with particular kudos to Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and Associate Principal Flute Catherine Ransom Karoly.

Baritone Matthias Goerne was the soloist in Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (extra points if you can name the television show in which this work was featured — answer below). Although the part was sung by a contralto when the Phil first played the work in 1942, Dudamel gets plaudits for programming Goerne to sing these “Songs on the Death of Children,” while choosing mezzo-sopranos to sing the other three cycles during this series.

Goerne brought extreme gravitas to the texts by Friederich Rückert, floating higher pianissimos lovingly while delivering deeply impassioned pathos in the lower parts, although his penchant for stooping and wandering around the podium was occasionally disconcerting. Dudamel and the Phil offered rich accompaniment and the final measures were so mesmerizing as to have the audience wait for nearly a minute after the final notes faded before Dudamel relaxed his arms and applause rained down on the performers.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 4 was his first to be written in a minor key (C minor, the same as Beethoven’s fifth); not until his eighth symphony would Schubert return to a minor key. Although Schubert appended the title, “Tragic,” to the work, there’s little of that word in the music. In this music, Schubert moves beyond his early symphonies to a style that is more fully developed. Dudamel and the Phil made the work sparkle with Viennese grace.

HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVERS:
• I don’t normally attend Thursday concerts because the church choir in which I sing practices that night, but with a couple of weeks off I got to hear this Thursday performance. Compared to weekend audiences, last night’s crowd was quite a bit more raucous but Dudamel took it all in stride, even giving a brief fist pump to the shouts after the first movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 4.
• On May 18 and 19, Dudamel will lead Schubert’s fifth and sixth symphonies with Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, with mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as soloist. The series concludes on May 20 and 21 with Schubert’s best-known symphonies, Nos. 8 (“Unfinished”) and 9 (“The Great C-Major”), with Garanča soloing in Mahler’s Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn on both concerts. Information on all of these is at www.laphil.com
• Answer to the question above: Kindertotenlieder appeared “Friends and Enemies,” an episode in the last season of M*A*S*H.
________________________

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email

REVIEW: Dudamel, L.A. Phil begin Schubert/Mahler series at Disney Hall

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conducting
Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
Next performances: May 11, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.
Information: www.laphil.com

Last week was quite tough for Los Angeles Philharmonic Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. For the past several years has watched as his native Venezuela’s government has slowly devolved into chaos. He has refused to become overtly involved, believing that such involvement might jeopardize his country’s El Sistema music program (which is funded in large part by the government) and that he can be more effective making music. That decision has earned him plenty of enmity, particularly from those who oppose the government.

However, on Wednesday Armando Cañizales, a 17-year-old violinist and El Sistema member, was killed during an antigovernment protest and Dudamel felt compelled to act. He issued a statement, “I Raise My Voice,” (LINK) that said, in part, “It is time to listen to the people: Enough is enough. I urgently call on the President of the Republic and the national government to rectify and listen to the voice of the Venezuelan people. Times cannot be defined by the blood of our people.”

Perhaps predictably many people on both sides of the debate are angry about this letter, some saying it’s too little, too late, others criticizing the relationship between Dudamel and El Sistema with the government, and some even calling Dudamel complicit in the killings.

Friday night Dudamel returned to his second home and to one of his familes, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for the first of five weeks of concerts that will present two different cycles. According to Mark Swed’s Los Angeles Times REVIEW, “[Dudamel] walked onto the stage with uncharacteristic brusqueness — no smiles” and told the audience he was dedicating the concert to the slain student and all victims of violence. “We play for all our children,” Dudamel concluded, “to build a better future for them with peace and love.”

Last night, his entrance onto the stage was gentler but still without smiles. Why he elected not to repeat the dedication mystifies me a bit — those who attend on Saturday are as much a part of the L.A. Phil family as those who came Friday night. Nonetheless, the evening proved to be excellent music making.

Over the next two weeks Dudamel will lead a cycle of all eight published symphonies of Franz Schubert intermingled with four song cycles written by Gustav Mahler. “This [weekend’s] program,” wrote Linda Shaver-Gleason in her program notes, “features symphonies from a prolific songwriter and songs from a prominent symphonist, two figures on the end of the Romantic era.”

This is a cycle that Dudamel could not have pulled off as well in his early days with the Phil. He would have been too brash, too energetic to let this music unfold on its own terms. Now, like his work with Mozart symphonies, he has become more relaxed and reflective in his music making.

Last night he conducted the first two symphonies from memory, with a light, yet sure touch, using almost none of the dynamic gestures for which is well known. He brought more gravitas to Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, in part because the soloist was mezzo-soprano Michelle deYoung, who sang Mahler’s texts with an opulent Wagnerian tone.

In his preconcert lecture, Professor James William Sobaskie described the concert as having “echoes and resonance,” noting that both composers reached into their past for inspiration but wrote works that pointed to the future.

Schubert composed his first symphony in 1813 at the age of 16, when he was still a student at the Imperial Seminary in Vienna. He began his second symphony the following year. Schubert was living in a city that still reveled in the works of Mozart, who died in 1791, Haydn, who passed away in 1809, and Beethoven, whose Symphony No. 7 premiered in 1813 and No. 8 a year later. Schubert’s first two symphonies heavily reflect the music of Haydn and Mozart.

Yet what a difference in these two works. The first symphony, which opened last night’s program, was scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings. By the second (which closed the evening) Schubert had added a second flute and two trumpets to the scoring, which made for a richer sound. For both symphonies Principal Timpanist Joseph Pereria played a set of kettledrums more appropriate to the Schubertian sound than the richer drums that were used in the Mahler songs.

Both symphonies begin with a slow introduction but diverge somewhat from there. Dudamel’s pacing was gentle until he reached the Presto finale of the second symphony. The orchestration in both works is a feast for wind instruments and the Phil’s principals were in tip-top form. At the conclusion of the second symphony, Dudamel waded into the orchestra to shake the hand of Associate Principal Oboeist Marion Arthur Kuszyk for her exemplary work.

The Mahler songs proved to be an effective counterpoint to the Schubert, although in all but the final concert of this series they will make for somewhat unbalanced programs. Dudamel used a score for Songs of a Wayfarer but led the four songs for which Mahler wrote from the poetry with elegant confidence.

Part of Sobaskie’s “resonance” description was easy to understand in Songs of a Wayfarer. The melody of the second song became the opening theme of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and traces of the final song also show up in that first symphony.

DeYoung poured out all four songs with easy opulence. Dudamel and the orchestra (considerably larger than for the Schubert symphonies) provided sumptuous accompaniment.

Next week’s programs will pair Schubert’s third and fourth symphonies with Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, with baritone Matthias Goerne as soloist. On May 18 and 19, Dudamel will lead Schubert’s fifth and sixth symphonies with Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, with mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as soloist.

The series concludes on May 20 and 21 with Schubert’s best-known symphonies, Nos. 8 (“Unfinished”) and 9 (“The Great C-Major”), with Garanča soloing in Mahler’s Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn on both concerts.

Information on all of these is at www.laphil.com

________________________

(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Reddit Tumblr Email