Great all the way, should have had more speaking
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 11/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We begin in what looks like Santa Monica where Salonen resides,or near the Pacific,being picked up for a early rehearsal.Salonen has wonderful things to say on creativity, on understanding, on musical destiny, technique as well, texture, layers within Debussy's "La Mer",and how creators have transformed nature into art. Salonen a composer himself brings this other dimension to his music making as Pierre Boulez. Composers he says, have always been drawn to nature, for nature represents endless possibilities, nature helps us humans transcend art and artistic criticism.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is simply fine music making, sensitive players,encompassing this depth of reference and vision that Salonen articulates.
The lifeworld of music making in Los Angeles seems to be this pervasive seemless orchestral timbre,(I heard them live on tour in 2001) overwhelmingly shaped and articulated moments. This is where the string body dominates the proceedings, winds then blend imperceptively into them and the brass even more. The Bass Drum Player even reveals he has five or six mallets to coax differing timbres from this membrane stretched over a round shape,blending with strings is different than when brass are involved.
There are some nice touches in the editing, angle shots, shots of shoes was cute and oddly interesting, LA's ubiquitous palm trees in various pear shapes,gently flowing in the breezes.
My only disagreement here is Salonen really didn;t analyze the work, and there didn't seem much to do in rehearsal.Well we know that, that the LA Phil knows the damn piece. But for us out here we need to be brought to it from day one, when they first started to put the work together.
Salonen made reference that Debussy took tremendous dangerous chances,and profound challenges in his orchestration. This is where what may be in your head, will not necessarily be what you hear in the real world. Ravel by contrast,Salonen continues, was a greater orchestrator,but took no chances.
We should have heard how Salonen prepares himself to conduct the work, What does he do as conductor as homework?Where does he begin? That would have made very interesting observations."
An almost perfect DVD
A. Preziosi | Mantua, NJ USA | 11/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Terrific presentation of Salonen's rehearsals with the LA Philharmonic. Nicely edited and presented with commentary by Salonen on various elements of the piece. However, what keeps this from being a "perfect" DVD, in my opinion, is the lack of a finished performance. The orchestra does play the piece almost without interruption, but there are scattered voice-overs and commentary included in the final rehearsal. The sound and picture quality are fine, but the lack of a finished product at the conclusion keep this from being a 5-star DVD. A perfect ending would have shown the transition from rehearsal to concert performance, with the orchestra and Salonen making the changes before the camera. That being said, students of Debussy and of music inparticular will find this a fascinating insight into the process of presenting a work to the public. It's a great idea, and I'd like to see more DVD's like it, but don't forget to finish the work!"