Last December, John Adams led an intriguing concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Walt Disney Concert Hall of music thematically centered on California, and specifically Los Angeles. From a Hollywood film score to a 21st century violin concerto, the concert, entitled West Coast, Left Coast, demonstrated the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s remarkable virtuosity and daring program choices. Deutsche Grammophon was on-hand to record the concerts and is proud to release the entire evening as part of the DG Concert Series of download-only digital releases, available from iTunes on June 15, 2010.
The concert was constructed so as to build to a performance of John Adams violin concerto, The Dharma at Big Sur. The work, commissioned for the inaugural gala of Walt Disney Concert Hall, was directly inspired by architect Frank Gehry’s design. The “sweeping, silver-toned clouds and sails of its exterior and…its warm and inviting public spaces” touched Adams and from there he pondered the idea of creating something distinctly California is nature. With Jack Kerouac as additional inspiration, Adams proceeded to compose a work for solo electric violin in two movements.
For this concert, violinist Leila Josefowicz took up the solo part and soared through the many technical difficulties of the score with John Adams leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in support. Before Ms. Josefowicz took the stage though, another concerto was included on the concert. William Kraft’s 1983 Timpani Concerto no. 1 received its first Los Angeles Philharmonic performances with these concerts. Kraft has served as the LA Phil’s Principal Timpanist, assistant conductor and composer-in-residence. This rarely performed piece is a true workout for the soloist, here Joseph Pereira the current Principal Timpanist of the LA Phil, and emerges as a full-force rhythmic powerhouse of a piece.
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