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Gustavo Dudamel and a cuatro virtuoso take San Francisco Symphony on an excellent journey – Noticed and Heard Global


United StatesUnited States Ortiz, Grau, Brahms: Jorge Glem (cuatro), San Francisco Symphony / Gustavo Dudamel (conductor). Davies Symphony Corridor, San Francisco, 25.11.2023. (HS)

Ovation for Odisea with composer Gonzalo Grau, cuatro soloist Jorge Glem and conductor Gustavo Dudamel © Harvey Steiman

Gabriela Ortiz – ‘Kauyumari’
Gonzalo GrauOdisea: Concerto for Venezuelan Cuatro and Orchestra
Brahms– Symphony No.2

The cuatro, a form of pint-sized Venezuelan guitar which may be incorrect for a ukulele, hardly ever turns out like an tool to characteristic in a concerto. And but, within the arms of a musical wizard like Jorge Glem, his fellow Venezuelan, composer Gonzalo Grau, and the Venezuela-born conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the song emerged as a 25-minute thrill journey.

Saturday in Davies Corridor they generated sufficient electrical energy and intensity to end up that Odisea actually did should be at the identical San Francisco Symphony program as Brahms’s Symphony No.2.

This appears to be a part of a pattern. Fresh live shows that I’ve attended, each right here and in other places, spanned a variety of song. They don’t seem to be by myself in figuring out and presenting various and thrilling works. Gratifyingly, those are greater than mandatory efforts to be inclusive. What I’ve encountered lately in opera properties and live performance halls, historically places for tried-and-true classics, has been specifically juicy, particularly in song created up to now ten years.

The son of a singer and composer, Grau skilled in classical song and expanded into jazz and salsa as performer and manufacturer. He used to be commissioned by means of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to jot down the piece, which premiered previous this 12 months beneath Dudamel with the L.A Philharmonic, the place he’s song director. The only-movement concerto strains a adventure throughout Venezuela, dipping into the musical kinds of a number of areas to create a form of odyssey for the rustic’s nationwide tool.

Gustavo Dudamel © Danny Clinch

Seems that we don’t need to be accustomed to those kinds to benefit from the variations between the at ease rhythms of coastal Venezuela and the vigorous depth of the mountain songs, and all of the stops in between. Glem’s virtuosity may were sufficient, as he coaxed out widely strummed harmonies, soulful melodies and an array of rhythms by means of quite a lot of strategies of hanging the tool’s wood frame. He produced a distinct vary of colours and tone in every phase of the single-movement concerto.

Grau’s song brims with evocative gestures for the cuatro, and frames it with ingenious voicings and classical-based utterings from the orchestra. In some way, they by no means crushed the soloist. Even the seven percussionists and a timpanist, used frequently, have been moderately held in test. They seasoned, relatively than crushed.

As an encore, Glem introduced a stunning improvisation that interpolated acquainted melodies, together with the ‘Ode to Pleasure’, snippets of Carmina Burana, the Venezuelan nationwide anthem and people tunes. It appeared to blow their own horns the entirety conceivable from this reputedly easy tool, and that used to be so much.

Dudamel opened this system with a six-minute tone poem by means of Mexican-born composer Gabriela Ortiz. ‘Kauyumari’ refers to a blue deer, mentioned to be noticed in peyote quests. The song progressively got here into focal point, then blossomed into bright colours as a Mexican people melody received extra complexity. It created a pleasing impact.

After the intermission, Dudamel formed a particularly essential efficiency of the Brahms symphony. He discovered unhurried tempos that by no means dragged, and cautious phraseology let the song bloom tellingly. There used to be a virility to this unique interpretation that allowed for a seductive sway to the dancelike 2nd theme within the opening motion. The song got here alive with delicate main points to dynamics and ever-so-slight ritards and accelerandos.

Particularly welcome used to be the steadiness between shadow and light-weight within the Adagio. Dudamel by no means let issues loll, however made the song drift virtually weightlessly, even because it changed into busier ahead of receding right into a sigh. The wistful 3rd motion felt dreamy, ahead of the finale amped issues up decisively. The energy and punch of decisive rhythms supplanted the holding-back of the primary 3 actions, and the song appeared to bounce from the level.

I’m no longer reasonably certain why Dudamel had the second one violins soar to their ft for his or her few measures ahead of the end, nevertheless it used to be startling to peer and come what may appeared to are compatible a way of revelry that underlay the translation. A protracted and efficient buildup to that end had progressively muscled issues up, as Dudamel sped previous conventional pauses to create a way of giddy depth. It were given louder little by little, in spite of everything crossing the tape on the finish of the run with spectacular breadth to the brass chorales.

It for sure were given the audiences to its ft briefly, with some of the vociferous ovations in fresh weeks.

Harvey Steiman

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