Gautier Capuçon Debuts With L.A. Phil
In a concert led by associate conductor Lionel Bringuier, the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra performed Smetana’s masterpiece The Moldau, Schumann’s Cello Concerto starring guest star Gautier Capuçon, and the luscious Dvorak’s Symphony No. 5 Sunday afternoon at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Opening with the soft trickling flutes of Bedrich Smetana’s The Moldau, the LA Phil transported the audience from a quiet Sunday afternoon to the distant headwaters of the ancient Moldau River in what today is the Czech Republic.
Smetana’s exquisite tone poem, inspired by the river, carries the listener along its length in six segments, beginning with the twin springs, rising in the Bohemian forest and ending in the capital city, Prague.
The LA Phil gave a dynamic and sensitive interpretation of the famous work, from the strings sawing furiously away during the ‘Rapids’ to the delicate pianissimo ‘droplets’ of the final bars.
The centerpiece of the concert, however, was 29-year-old French cellist Gautier Capuçon’s performance with the LA Phil (his debut performance was Friday), of Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor.
The Concerto, with its three movements cleverly melded into one, “projects a gentle, melancholy lyricism that is more wistful than tragic,” according to a statement, and offered Capuçon an opportunity to impress his audience with his technical prowess (and impeccable hair) and he delivered, bringing life and vigor to Schuman’s impressive repertoire.
Executed on his 1701 Matteo Goffriller cello, he brought warm resonance to Disney Hall, adding another excellent performance to his 2011 North American Tour.
After a brief intermission, the orchestra returned to perform the work of another Bohemian composer, Antonín Dvořák, with his Symphony No. 5 in F major.
Composed in only five weeks, the piece has a lyrical quality to it that lends itself well to Fantasia-style visions of color and light, with sonorous horn calls that would one day reappear in Dvořák New World Symphony.
The second movement opens with a deep, resonating melody in the cellos which is then passed to the violins for a beautiful and witty trio.
The finale of the piece begins with a low string intensity not unlike the opening notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, with a vibrating excitement that can be felt in the bottoms of your feet.
The ensuing development of bright orchestral coloring builds off three themes, culminating in a thunderous and resounding conclusion that resulted in a long and heartfelt ovation from the orchestra’s audience.
For more on the LA Phil and their spring season, click here.
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