Golijov: Azul at Disney 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 on my first CD), to great 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 amazing work of violin concerto. It is more abstract, more angular, more edgy. I enjoyed it! Most interestingly Barber’s music lead to Golijov’s music pretty well. 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 titles as cello concerto, but to me it was 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 and color that he wanted to hear, and combined it with different musical styles. This piece shows his great talent because it sounded so natural, so organic. A young cello star, Joshua Roman, has beautiful sound and phrasing which fits to this timeless work pretty well. I was most impressed by Keita Ogawa, one of percussionists. He can manage any percussion instruments vey well, and it was so fun to sense his joy of music making. To me he was as if a magician, pulling new tricks or treasure from the box one by one. He seemed so relaxed and joyful. Hyper-accordion player, Michael Ward-Bergeman and a percussionist, Jamey Haddad did stylistic and skillful work as well. The concert was conducted by the gust conductor, Marin Alsop.

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