Dudamel exhilarates.

Lobby Fervor before the concert began

Once inside, Maestro Dudamel’s conducting of Mahler Symphony No. 1 was clear and powerful, lush and filled with inner life. As it progressed the music grew out of itself, organically, in a constant journey, an exploration leading to triumph. The youthful bravado of an early work by Mahler well-suited 26 year old Dudamel.

And our orchestra clearly enjoyed the romp. Last night’s horns would have melted you. The percussion beat against your heart. Our strings sailed along with the winds.

So why can’t the CSO find a Music Director? For how long will this great orchestra be able to sustain its prominence?

L.A. didn’t thrash about waiting for a successor to Esa-Pekka Salonen. This hot young winderkind jumped at the chance.

But if the plan is for him to one day succeed Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin, well, in retrospect, last night’s Mahler was so hot that parts of it were nearly tropical! I wonder what the Central Europeans would think of that.

But we get ahead of ourselves. Berlin would be years away. I know I’ll enjoy watching Dudamel mature along the way.

(I regret I haven’t time here to write of the other fine music on the program.)

In Chicago, during the long and loud applause, Dudamel pulled a kind-of “Roberto Begnini at the Oscars” celebration. He bounded into the orchestra, embraced his soloists, one after the other, so happy for them, so bonded to them, so proud of what man can accomplish ensemble. He joyfully raised both fists triumphantly in the air. If anyone there would have dared to utter, the oft-heard lament “classical music is dying” – you would not have been able to hear it or believe it.

For now, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has Dudamel and he’ll be good for them. He’s the real thing and a good fit for the L.A. media, and “the scene.”

I believe most people at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts would say, “Oh, would that he were ours.”


Andrew has another fine take on Dudamel here
and a delightful/insightful audio interview (recorded pre L.A. announcement) here.

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