Golijov: Azul at Disney Concert Hall 11/7/12

November 7, 2012

I really liked this colorful piece, “Azul”, by Osvaldo Golijov. I went to LA Phil’s Sunday matinee concert on November 4. “Azul” was performed right after Barber’s “Second Essay” for Orchestra. I am a big fan of Barber’s music, from piano solo pieces (I recorded his “Excursions” Op. 20 for my first CD) to wonderful songs, concertos, chamber music, etc. We tend to think about his music as Neo-Romantic, but “Second Essay” for Orchestra gave me an entirely different side of Barber. This piece was written in 1942, 3 years after his fabulous violin concerto. “Second Essay” is more abstract, more angular, and more edgy. Most interestingly, Barber’s music was almost connected to Golijov’s music. I was first wondering about the 2 different composers back to back, but it made some sense to me. Golijov was born in Argentina, the country I love, and now he is on the faculty of Boston Conservatory and College of the Holy Cross. “Azul” is titled as cello concerto, but it was almost a concerto for 4 instruments, cello, 2 percussions, and hyper-accordion. Each player has a significant role in this piece. Golijov crafted his musical ideas, combining with different musical styles. This piece shows his great creativity, yet very organic. A young cello star, Joshua Roman, has beautiful sound and phrasing which perfectly fits to this timeless music. I was most impressed by Keita Ogawa, one of percussionists. He managed all kinds of percussions so skillfully, and it was so fun to see he was having a joyful time on the stage. Hyper-accordion player, Michael Ward-Bergeman, and a percussionist, Jamey Haddad, were stylistic and artistic. The concert was conducted by the gust conductor, Marin Alsop.

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