Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

Ashkenazy Conducts Shostakovich

January 24, 1994|DANIEL CARIAGA | TIMES MUSIC WRITER

For his only local conducting appearances this season, Vladimir Ashkenazy chose a satisfying program to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic through. It combined William Kraft's bright, very short Fanfare, Brahms' "Tragic" Overture, Mozart's G-major Violin Concerto and Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony.

And satisfying it was in all ways, Friday night in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center. Well received, too: Not only did the audience refrain from coughing during most of the playing, it also cheered loudly at appropriate points.

Shostakovich's deep-boned Tenth provided the climax to these proceedings, yet its pleasures were spread out.

Kraft's Fanfare--the second of a dozen new pieces noting the Philharmonic's 75th anniversary--prevented early dozing in the most positive way. Quartets of trumpets, horns, trombones and percussionists, plus one tuba, exclaimed six important-sounding musical sentences in what the Philharmonic's resident archivist reported to be 53 seconds. This was not the first time that Kraft's music has made us smile; we believe it will not be the last.

Brahms' nominally "Tragic" overture had the same effect, and justifiably. One does not always hear this composer's music laid out so persuasively in structure, or transparently in texture.

Making her third Southern California appearance in the 1990s, young Antje Weithaas, a young German violinist of high accomplishment and resourceful virtuosity, gave a graceful, loving and pointed reading to Mozart's K. 216 Concerto. In this she was assisted carefully by conductor Ashkenazy and a reduced Philharmonic.

Following intermission, the Russian-born maestro led Shostakovich's sometimes grim Tenth with an apprehensible sense of purpose and clear emotional definitions. The orchestra responded deftly, providing the full dynamic spectrum called-for by the composer and the contagious motivation demanded by the conductor. Without slighting either the lyrical peaks or the aggressive climaxes along the way, Ashkenazy let the structure build to its final statements in a convincing ascent of feeling. That, of course, is what conductors are supposed to do.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|