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A rapturous Midori moment

November 22, 2002|Daniel Cariaga | Times Staff Writer

This is, indeed, a golden age of violinists. At a masterly 31, the Japanese-born Midori stands as the leader -- actually the groundbreaker -- of its younger generation.

On Wednesday night, Midori began the second week of her current Los Angeles Philharmonic residency in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, playing the once-neglected, now-ubiquitous Violin Concerto by Samuel Barber. She gave this benign masterpiece, one that soars without ever huffing or puffing, its due in effortless lyricism, thrilling climaxes and a probing lightness.

She was aided with sensitive authority by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the resourceful orchestra.

Salonen surrounded the 63-year-old concerto with Christopher Rouse's recent (2000) "Rapture" and with Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony.

"Rapture," the composer told the pre-concert event audience in the Grand Hall, is an 11-minute piece that progresses "from contentment to joy." That proved to be so in the Philharmonic's enthusiastic reading but does not tell the whole truth. "Rapture" is actually noisy and dense, and Rouse's description of it as wholly tonal and in C major is also not quite accurate.

Despite slovenly moments in the finale, Beethoven's Third Symphony emerged triumphant and eloquent in Salonen's well-paced reading.


L.A. Philharmonic

Where: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Price: $14 to $82

Contact: (323) 850-2000

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