City Noir

Disgusted with poor umpiring, the stretched out playoff schedule (which I can only assume was designed by the TV networks), and rather sloppy play, I skipped baseball last night and watched a different LA event: Great Performances broadcast of Gustavo Dudamel’s Inaugural Gala and Opening Night Concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I’m not a big fan of anything in Los Angeles, but MPR has been plugging this concert quite a bit, so I thought I would see what all the excitement was about.

The concert included two pieces: John Adams’ “City Noir” (commissioned for the event) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major. Both provided the “Hello, LA. Here I am. Let’s have some fun.” message that I think Dudamel was going for. I enjoyed “City Noir” more than I expected, especially the saxophone solos throughout, the wide variety of percussion instruments included, the use of piano, celesta, and 2 (!) harps, and the blending of Latin and film noir influences. While the opening movement “The City and Its Double” was a bit chaotic, the second movement “The Song is for You” was lovely, and the third “Boulevard Night” brought everything to an exciting conclusion.

Dudamel’s enthusiasm for the Mahler was thoroughly communicated. Mahler’s First always takes me back to my days as a music student, which means I am amused again when I hear what sounds like “Three Blind Mice/Hot Cross Buns” 🙂

For a more authoritative review of the concert, see the LA Times Review.

And catch the replay of Great Performances if you get a chance.