Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 8:15 am | Fair 43º

 
 
 
 

L.A. Philharmonic’s Salonen Orchestrates a Fine Adieu

His farewell visit to the newly renovated Granada Theatre is a match made in musical heaven.

The praises heaped on the newly renovated Granada Theatre were fully merited on Saturday evening with an appearance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

It was Salonen?s farewell visit to Santa Barbara as the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic; he has announced his resignation to concentrate on composing. He chose two works, Johannes Brahms? Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with friend and colleague Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist, and music from Gotterdammerung by Richard Wagner, always a guilty pleasure. Australian soprano Lisa Gasteen was the soloist in the latter, excelling in Brunnhilde?s immolation from Gotterdamerung.

Salonen has a spirited conducting style, along with a wonderful rapport with his orchestra. It is hard to imagine him sequestered, composing away and not lifting a baton.

The philharmonic is his baby, and sounded completely so in the Brahms, ending the fourth and final movement, allegretto grazioso, with a thunderous finality. Andsnes was equally commanding in his playing of the Brahms, which the composer notoriously referred to as his ?tiny, tiny little concerto.? It is enormous, powerful and demanding of the soloist and the audience. And, of course, it repays this demand handsomely.

Salonen?s conducting of the Wagner was perhaps a bit more restrained, in recognition of Gasteen?s mastery of Brunnhilde?s death music from Wagner?s masterpiece.

It is a genuine pleasure to report that the acoustics of the Granada are as advertised, clear and refined, brilliant but not too much so. A patron seated behind me said after the Brahms, ?I heard every note, every single note.?

Salonen is in his 16th season as conductor of the L.A. orchestra, and after the 2008-09 season will hand over the baton to 27-year-old Gustavo Dudamel, a Venezuelan youngster who already has received bravos in Santa Barbara as a visiting maestro.

Pianist Andsnes has a full schedule of concertizing with the world?s major orchestras, but also spends time in his native Norway playing chamber music. He has a lengthy discography, as well as a number of awards to his name. He received his native Norway?s signal honor, named Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He also has been honored with the Royal Philharmonic Society?s Instrumentalist Award, the Gilmore Artist Award and three Grammies.

The concert was brought to the Granada courtesy of the Community Arts Music Association. The music community is, as always, greatly indebted.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >