A Pleasant Outdoor Summer Night with Perlman and Dudamel

By Truman C. Wang

Itzhak Perlman (Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Itzhak Perlman (Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl featured two powerhouse names in classical music – Itzhak Perlman and Gustavo Dudamel.  The music-making, however, was pleasantly low-key and congenial in a lighthearted program of Mendelssohn and Beethoven.   It was the perfect music for de-stress after a long day in the office and the hassle of driving to the Bowl (for those who have not heard of Park & Ride Bowl Shuttle). 

The beloved Mendelssohn E-minor Violin Concerto received a rapturous account by Itzhak Perlman, full of great warmth and freshness.  The lovely tender second subject of the first movement arrived in a delicate falling arpeggio on the violin and picked up by the winds with complete spontaneity.  Dudamel proved to be a splendid partner to Perlman’s idyllic violin playing.  The slow movement Andante was no less beautiful, and the finale Allegro molto vivace lived up to its title in a full-on display of gleeful effervescence.    

Following the intermission, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6 in F minor was heard in its ideal summer outdoor setting, where Hollywood Hills meets Beethoven’s Alpine meadows and fiery storm.  Readers of this blog know I frequently take Dudamel to task for his heavy-handed approach to the Classical repertoire.  This night, however, he appeared more laid-back and turned in an idiomatic performance of the “Pastoral” with disarming charm and grace. Bravo maestro.

Truman C. Wang is Editor-in-Chief of Classical Voice, whose articles have appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the Pasadena Star-News, other Southern California publications, as well as the Hawaiian Chinese Daily.