Applause in Unlikely Places: A Conductor Who Rewrites the Rules
During the “Infernal Dance” of Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” which depicts the subjects of the ogre Kastchei spinning with such savagery that they drop in exhaustion, the music builds to vehement, searing chords. In his performance of the complete “Firebird” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, Gustavo Dudamel drew such blazing colors, slashing attacks and sheer terror from the orchestra that at the climax of the dance some people in the hall broke into applause and shouted “Bravo.” This temporarily drowned out the transition that immediately follows: the powerful chords disperse to reveal mysterious, hushed sonorities.
... It is exciting to hear this charismatic conductor taking risks and following a vision. Now in his fourth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he has galvanized the city and become for all conductors a model of community outreach and education. Not bad.