Friday, July 13, 2007

Hollywood Bowl II

It was impossible to top Tuesday night's fireworks, but the performances tonight were excellent. Most of the night was filled with standard favorites. It started off with a Berlioz overture that was a lot of fun. The main piece in the first half was the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, a piece clearly influenced by the younger composer George Gershwin's Concerto in F (written five years earlier), in a fantastic, exciting performance by Andreas Haefliger, with Leonard Slatkin once again conducting.

The second half began with the popular Rossini Overture to The Thieving Magpie, which was staged with dueling snare drums and was another fun fanfare. There were also two throwaway pieces, the Fauré Pavane and Mascagni's Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (featured in RAGING BULL). I could have done without these two short but pretty pieces, neither of which holds any musical development whatsoever.

The evening ended with Respighis' Pines of Rome, a piece that I had never heard in live performance, and which I feared might be a letdown at the end of a long concert. However, the orchestra gave an exciting performance, bringing out subtle orchestrational details I had not previously noticed, and building to an amazing climax at the end. I expected the concert to be long, but it actually finished a bit shorter than Tuesday's concert. With the lighter attendance, traffic was a breeze in and out, and it was another great evening at the bowl.
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