By no means is the Los Angeles Philharmonic jumping late on the supposed bandwagon of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Thanks to Andre Previn, the Pulitzer Prize winner's music made an appearance here two years ago when the incoming maestro led his inaugural concerts.
And now he is presenting her Symphony No. 1, the 1982 piece that distinguished Zwilich as the first woman in music to receive the prestigious award.
At its Los Angeles premiere Friday in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the 15-minute work comes across with its authority and high craftsmanship intact. Both radiance and complexity abound. Against lush strings that set up a mood of foreboding come driving brass interjections and their angular motifs. A slow movement focuses on sparse materials spun out in distantly eerie long lines and a finale continues the mode but adds an insistent pulse.
Altogether it is an arresting work, one that speaks a distinct language. And Previn, in a clear-voiced account, emphasized its post-Impressionistic aura. Whether as a stroke of luck or by shrewd design, his pairing the Zwilich with Debussy's "La Mer," which followed, further brought this connection to mind.