Summer truly begins with our first Hollywood Bowl concert of the season. Normally I would like to go to a July 4th concert, but this year it was a Country-Western themed concert, so we waited until last night and saw the fireworks show with Pictures at an Exhibition.
The concert was great. Leonard Slatkin conducted. He's the principle guest conductor of the orchestra, and he's my favorite of the bowl conductors. He's very smart without overdoing things. The Russian concert opened with the Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture by Glinka, always an exciting start for a concert. The piece was followed by the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, performed by Gil Shaham, who showed amazing range on the instrument in many ways. Not only did he have a beautiful, sweet sound on the high harmonics, he also had a rich, sultry tone on the low notes. He also showed wide emotional range, finding humor in both the first and last movements.
The evening ended with one of my favorite pieces, Pictures at an Exhibition. The orchestra played it very well, but the real excitement came from one of the best fireworks displays that I've ever seen, which was amazingly well synchronized to the music. It was a blast (literally)!