Returning to Hollywood Bowl and the podium of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Tuesday night, Yakov Kreizberg led a Dvorak program of clarity, astuteness and finesse. The Bowl's new sound-enhancement system performed well for the most part, a few surprising echoes notwithstanding, and the modest-size audience heard the music without distractions.
In the first half, a young German musician, Alban Gerhardt, made his local debut in the Cello Concerto. Although his hair is unruly, he is the model of musical decorum and charisma. And his playing is flawless, communicative and relaxed. Unlike some of his peers, he sweats not; neither does he strain. He conveyed the work's many beauties without grandstanding or undue effort.
Together, Gerhardt and Kreizberg returned this much-battered showpiece to its rightful place as an example of Dvorak's lyric ingenuity at its peak. A noble performance.
Yet there was disappointment in the second half, when the St. Petersburg-born conductor presided over a low-energy, uncompelling reading of the Symphony No. 8, one of Dvorak's most masterly and thrilling scores.