March 7th 2015 – Daring Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall: A Review

Credit: Josh Bustos

Probably as you know from my last post, I was very ecstatic about an upcoming concert on March 7th, last Saturday. And as a result, I was definitely impressed in shock and awe to what I witnessed. Fascinated and in awe, those two hours of music were the best two hours of my life. It was that amazing and impactful.

First off, the world premiere of Paul Dooley’s “Mavericks.” I prepared a bit for this piece of music before it made its debut. I read the background of the inspiration and the program from what available to me, and I was thoroughly impressed on what I heard. The piece was very grandiose in sound with rich harmonies and textures that embodies the feel of a theatrical performance, with a hearty contemporary feel that transports me to a place where the Northern Californian waves crash into the rocks. I felt this plurality of orchestration with the sounds of waves that just melt in your ears as you listen to the jazzy-like mood. Albeit, I was very impressed by Dooley, and look forward to listening to this piece again and dwelling into more works by this master. Bravo.

The second piece is my most favorite piece of music alive, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. An amazing feat by the equally amazing soloist, Valentina Lisitsa. I happen to know Valentina and became acquainted with her recently, and what an amazing person, virtuosic pianista, and energetic soul to ever witness live in concert. It was a first for me. Her generosity and loving heart provided me and my mother with two complementary tickets, smack dab right in front of the orchestra. That also added to the memorability of the event. The day before she was to fly in LA to go and rehearse with the AYS, but due to the crazy weather situation in the East Coast, her flight was postponed to the earliest time where she had to drive eight hours from one part of the country to the other just to catch the morning flight to LA, the day of the concert. Having not rehearsed with the youthful and energetic AYS, she creamed Rach 2, with the utmost perfection, plus with an encore of La Campanella. If you are reading this Val, you’re an amazing person and I am forever in your debt…

Shostakovich’s 6th symphony was too amazing. Most Russian composers at the time had two decisions. One, to stay in the country and deal with the Soviet Union and the downplay of Classical Music in Russia or two, to leave their home land and go some place else. Under a regime, everything is controlled, from what you watch, what you read, even what you hear musically or non musically. For an example in today’s standards, Rachmaninoff’s music is considered Russian Nationalist music that beautifies the Russian Soul with its minor tones and folk textures. When Rachmaninoff left Russia to the west, much of his music was banned from The Soviet Union when Stalin came into power. After the fall of the regime, his music bolstered to its familiarity as it ever so attained. Most musicians saw the downplay to Soviet Realism as a threat to the creative process, but Shostakovich had no problem. He did go through many different changes throughout his life, and a lot of music also downplayed to the regime. The first movement had many instances of various melancholies, but the second and third movements were energetic and happy at the end. You can certainly tell in the music that there is a slight distress, but everything is trying to become normal in terms of Stalin’s demands. The caged bird does sing, doesn’t it?

I also got to meet Valentina Lisitsa after, snap a few photos, and get an autograph. By the end of the day, I was happy as I could ever be. I am looking forward to more amazing events.

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