Fiddlers dominate the concert schedule in these first three weeks of the summer classical music season at Hollywood Bowl. And an exceptional fiddler, the 24-year-old Julian Rachlin, held the center of a Mozart program on Thursday night, the second Los Angeles Philharmonic event of this 10-week season.
The Vienna-trained violinist, a native of Lithuania, brought consistent authority, a solid musicality and lustrous, controlled tone to the beauties of Mozart's G-major Concerto, K. 216.
His performance, at once gregarious and reserved, aggressively restored the familiar work to a high place in the listeners' affections. Guest conductor Adam Fischer and the Philharmonic proved able, felicitous collaborators with the young soloist.
By the end of the evening--in an orchestral agenda beginning with the Symphony No. 25 and ending with Symphony No. 40, both in G minor--odd acoustical conditions prevalent at the beginning had been worked through. If, indeed, that is the correct description of what happens when microphones, speakers and engineers combine skills to project sound realistically into an outdoor amphitheater seating more than 18,000 people.
In any case, the Philharmonic sounded more like itself during Symphony 40 than during Symphony 25, when orchestral balances began askew and continued inconsistent through its length. It is a quirky score, to be sure, and the Hungarian conductor seemed to want to spotlight its oddities. Yet this time through, its profile in sound remained hazy and unsettled, despite a willing orchestra.
The performance of the beloved 40th Symphony then became a relatively successful pairing of superior orchestral achievement and benign, high-tech sound-dispersal. Its textures were transparent, its continuity undisturbed, inevitable, even. The hazards of balancing ebullience and drama--inherent in this work--were for once conquered.