A year ago this week, Miriam Fried and Yuri Temirkanov collaborated in Brahms' Violin Concerto at Hollywood Bowl and disappointed through excessive politeness and a lack of passion.
Tuesday night, the violinist from Romania and the Soviet conductor, again with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, brought the Tchaikovsky Concerto back to the Bowl. But this time they did not disappoint.
Handsomely accompanied by the orchestra, Fried produced a thoughtful and genteel performance, if one seldom as overheated as current tastes may dictate. Yet, virtuosity and passion were not lacking in this probing, lyrical and often immaculate account of the familiar warhorse. They were merely downplayed.
Temirkanov concurred on every musical point, and the two together caressed and illuminated many crucial passages anew. It was not like hearing the old work for the first time, but the reconsideration brought freshness to music that often seems stale.
Before an audience of 9,577, Temirkanov accomplished as much in Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique." With strong help and apparently willing flexibility from the Philharmonic, the conductor built a dramatic performance stressing the composer's quirkiness, the accumulative nature of the work and pungent instrumental details.
Throughout, Berlioz's programmatic intent seemed to be served with conviction. Solid choral values were achieved by the upper strings, with pointed woodwind solos and burnished brass attacks--authoritative but not strident. Thus the playing emerged effective as sound, articulate as statement.
At the other end of the evening, a ponderous national anthem and an unfocused, if in moments brilliantly detailed, "Khovanshchina" Prelude, began this concert.