Los Angeles Music Preview: DUDAMEL & BEETHOVEN (LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl)

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by Tony Frankel on July 20, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


While there are quite a few well-made recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano, rarely will you get a chance to see it performed live. Often referred to as the Triple Concerto, it is a distinctive work in its category; it establishes an amalgamation between the Concerto Grosso, a baroque-like musical composition for a group of solo instruments accompanied by an orchestra, and the Sinfonia Concertante, which essentially mixes the symphony and the concerto genres. It’s a concerto in that three soloists are on prominent display and a symphony in that the soloists are nonetheless discernibly a part of the total ensemble and not preeminent. Here, the parts of the soloists are of equal importance and the balance between them was particularly researched by the composer.

gustavo dudamel, la phil

Some of you may assume that since you aren’t familiar with it, this 1804 work (which premiered at the same time as the Eroica Symphony) must not be as good as Beethoven’s other masterpieces. Don’t. The reason that this gorgeous and exciting work isn’t ubiquitous in the classical repertoire is that it requires three exceptionally experienced soloists—their parts are technically incredibly challenging—and gathering together three prestigious soloists, a great orchestra, and a good conductor is not an easy feat.

Gautier Capuçon

Well, a double trifecta slams into the Hollywood Bowl beginning Tuesday: The Los Angeles Philharmonic has gathered a blockbuster French trio—brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon on violin and cello and Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano—to join Music Director Gustavo Dudamel for the Triple Concerto. The LA Phil is rightly certain that this event will be heavily attended, and have smartly programmed two performances: July 22 and 24.

Renaud Capuçon

This exceptional experience will be bolstered by the second half of the program: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which may be the most popular orchestral work ever written. For many concertgoers, it is THE classical symphony for obvious reasons: It is one of the most electrifying works in the repertoire: a first movement which is a rhythmic tour de force of white-hot intensity based on a single four-note figure; a second movement of exquisite lyrical grace; a third-movement scherzo that is grand more than playful; and a glorious march of a finale, with a triumphant coda.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Now, before you roll your eyes with “This again?,” consider that familiarity has robbed the Fifth of its originality. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those who heard its premiere in 1808; no doubt they were left gasping for breath. With Dudamel at the helm, you will be reminded why the Fifth remains unique and indispensable.

classical hollywood bowl 2014

photos courtesy of LA Phil

Dudamel & Beethoven
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Gautier Capuçon, cello
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Beethoven: Triple Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
The Hollywood Bowl
Tuesday, July 22 at 8:00
Thursday, July 24 at 8:00
for tickets, visit LA Phil at the Bowl

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