Friday, November 09, 2007

Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela

Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Various Works from Latin America
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

I was lucky enough to get a ticket for this performance at Davies Hall last Sunday evening. Dudamel & the Venezuela Youth Orchestra remade the orchestral concert experience for me. One attends concerts regularly for years waiting for experiences like this. The orchestra is over-sized: 11 double basses, 8 horns, 4 flutes, bassoons, etc. & Dudamel has them playing with a unanimity of purpose that makes every statement, large or small, emphatic & visceral. The 1st half was the hour-long Shostakovich 10, which Dudamel conducted from memory. It made me want to throw away my anemic Naxos CD version of the same piece. The 2nd half was like being invited to the best party in town. This is the only orchestra I've ever seen that has its own choreography!

Read the raves for this tour:
- Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the greatest show on Earth (LA Times)
- Dudamel is absolutely revelatory (LA Times)
- Fiery Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra sets Bernstein ablaze (SF Chronicle)

Dudamel returns early next year to lead an SF Symphony subscription concert. I definitely want to see that to find out if he wields the same power in front of a professional orchestra.

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