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Music Review : Pianist Ilana Vered At The Bowl

July 05, 1986|MARC SHULGOLD

On the final day of the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, the Los Angeles Philharmonic fittingly honored the Russian composer Thursday night with the second of two preseason programs in Hollywood Bowl.

Tchaikovsky has had better outings.

Most disappointing was Ilana Vered's reading of the B-flat-minor Concerto. The Israeli pianist, sporting an eye-catching gold and black spangled blouse, rarely seemed in touch with the music.

The opening-movement was marred by a memory lapse from the soloist--or perhaps a loss in concentration--and by her consistently muddy octave passages. In the slow movement, the pianist appeared more in the groove, particularly in a delicately traversed transition to the agitated prestissimo section.

With the stormy arrival of the finale, however, Vered once again reverted to overplaying and overpedaling. She blurred any sense of bite in that on-the-beat off-the-beat opening theme and, as earlier, stumbled in the admittedly tortuous octave passages. Jan Latham-Koenig provided merely dutiful support from the podium.

Pre-intermission, Latham-Koenig--who has been pressed into service opening week, replacing the indisposed Lawrence Foster--did his best with the "Pathetique" Symphony. Even an earth-shaking performance could hardly have the same effect outdoors as it would in a concert hall. The work is simply too moody, too subtle, to make its full impact in the vast surroundings of Cahuenga Pass.

Though crisply played, this "Pathetique" was not an earth-shaking performance. The young English conductor was clearly in control, displaying an excellent stick technique and drawing a well-proportioned reading from the Philharmonic. There was no fussing with unnecessary details, no exaggerated emoting. Passion and rhythmic punch were also lacking.

Neither the players nor the 7,992 reportedly in attendance received appreciable help from the amplification, which tended all evening toward the tinny side. The patented Tchaikovskian warmth never materialized. Nor, thank goodness, did any aircraft in the hushed finale of the "Pathetique."

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