The subscription audience at the Los Angeles Philharmonic concert, Friday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center, gave Pierre Boulez a hero's welcome when he returned, barely a year after his last appearance here, to lead our orchestra.
Not on his first entrance, though that greeting was friendly enough, nor on his second, when the applause was enthusiastic but general. But, after the first scheduled work, Boulez's own "Notations," which opened the program proper. Then, in response to this overture-like, four-movement piece, which seems to sum up the French composer-conductor's seriousness, facets and wit in eight brief minutes, the audience erupted in a small but pointed ovation. A tone was set.
The level of that beginning, played expertly and with mellow self-regulation of instrumental balances by the players of the Philharmonic, was maintained in the following main courses of the program, Luciano Berio's "Corale" for solo violin, two horns and strings, and Bela Bartok's complete ballet score to "The Wooden Prince." Boulez conducted all three works with his customary probity and concentration.
Berio, as shown in the 6-year-old "Corale," (and, earlier in the season, with his Brahms transcription) seems bent on a career of re-composition, even on pushing that career beyond Stravinskyan limits.