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Music Review

Conductor Ling Proves His Romantic Mettle

May 09, 1998|JOHN HENKEN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When period instrument guru Roger Norrington bowed out because of illness, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's mini-survey of German Romanticism at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion began to look decidedly conventional.

But his replacement, Jahja Ling, had ideas of his own about the agenda and took it over intact, with generally bracing results Thursday.

Although he has conducted the Philharmonic twice in recent years as a substitute at the Hollywood Bowl, this was the Indonesian American conductor's Music Center debut. Not in the least abashed by the unfamiliar turf, Ling split the violins right and left, rearranging the orchestra seating much as Norrington might have done, and drew well-energized playing from the ensemble.

*

Some caution at musical intersections undercut the characteristic pell-mell wackiness of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony, but Ling enforced the composer's dynamic markings with fastidious regard. And all hesitancy was banished from his surging reading of Schumann's undervalued Symphony No. 4, which had warmth and clarity in both interpretation and performance.

Christian Tetzlaff proved an eminently lyrical soloist in Mendelssohn's E-minor Violin Concerto, eloquent but not gushing.

His attractive sound was a little small but supremely articulate, in an account notable for the lightness and charm that seem to evade more heavy-breathing virtuosos.

Ling and the Philharmonic provided responsive accompaniment.

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* Los Angeles Philharmonic, Jahja Ling, conductor; Christian Tetzlaff, violin, Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave. $6-$63. (213) 850-2000.

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