From a practical point of view, the news of Itzhak Perlman's recital in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday night was that here and there an empty seat gaped. Not many, to be sure, but for a Perlman concert enough to be noticeable.
For the rest, the musical aspects of the occasion, the ritual was much as before, and before that.
Perlman's playing is always suave, it blows both hot and cold, and every so often it courts excitement.
No matter what, the audience response is always explosive. They adore him, in and out of his various seasons.
Actually, the temperature range is not that great. Perlman works in a predetermined pattern: He opens with long and boring sonatas and the like, and eventually he gets around to announcing his own lagniappe as a kind of innocent musical cabaret.
By way of experiment, it would be interesting if sometime he would reverse the procedure and let his audience get heated up at the beginning and cool down at the end. It could work artistically to the performer's advantage.