The concerts started with the world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s “The Observatory”—a very interesting short performance with the exciting Xian Zhang as the guest conductor of the LA Philharmonic.
Caroline was the youngest Pulitzer Prize winner for Music in 2013. She said she created “The Observatory,” “for the Bowl, the LA Phil, the brilliant conductor Xian Zhang, and the heat of August 2019.” She has commented that she “loves the way epic tales of the beyond can zoom in and out, using grand, imagined alternative universes to tell stories about ourselves.”
The music appeared to have references to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 and Brahms’ Symphony No.1.
The introduction concert was very exciting and full of high notes with clarity and dignity.
The conductor Xian Zhang was moving all around, up and down, keeping the audience and performers excited.
Beethoven’s Ninth was performed by the LA Philharmonic with Xian Zhang as guest conductor, Liv Redpath, soprano; Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Topy Spence, tenor; Michael Sumuel, bass; and the fantastic Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Beethoven’s slow movement in the introduction is the peaceful balance that builds up before the excitement of the furies and the introduction of the voices/chorale. This is one of Beethoven’s major inspirational innovations “expressing the highest aspirations with music of life-affirming exaltation.”
This performance was one of the best of my favorites of Beethoven, which he completed in the summer of 1812.