Except for the local premiere performance of Alfred Schnittke's Third Violin Concerto--a work written for solo violin and an accompanying ensemble of 16 instruments--the latest Los Angeles Philharmonic subscription program offers nothing of special interest.
Conducted by Guenther Herbig and heard Thursday night in the Pavilion of the Music Center (with repeats scheduled over the weekend), it certainly delivers a small impact.
Schnittke's tight and mordant Concerto No. 3 (1978) clutches the listener desperately during its 22 gripping minutes, but does not otherwise justify its inclusion on an agenda for full orchestra. Similarly, Bach's First Orchestral Suite, BWV 1066, and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony might both be better served--given Herbig's uninspired conducting--on a chamber orchestra series where real specialists might probe their respective characters.
The music of Schnittke, the Russian composer born in 1934, has reached Philharmonic subscribers only on a New Music Group program given last season. As played by Gidon Kremer, assisted carefully by Herbig--both musicians have been associated with the work since its inception--the Third Violin Concerto proves to be bleak, abrasive, painfully atonal and ultimately poignant.