Many of the great composers who were also great performers were well known for championing the works of others. Mendelssohn, as conductor, was essential in restoring the nearly forgotten legacy of J.S. Bach. Similarly, he re-introduced Schubert who had all but disappeared to audiences in the mid-19th century.
Dudamel has become the embodiment of the cultural renaissance of Los Angeles. I never tire of watching the dip in his knees when a particularly pungent musical passage comes along and then the way he rises on his toes for a fanfare. His solidarity with the youth of his troubled native country is commendable and this is where he feels his focus should be. But is the Ode to Joy Dudamel's sotto voce answer to his critics who decry his silence on Venezuela? Beethoven may have been deaf, but Dudamel is not.
It's been a few years now since I began paying for Spotify's premium service, and to my enormous surprise I think I've been converted. Sure, I still buy some CDs and download albums that I think I'll want in my "permanent" collection. But most of my listening these days has been on Spotify. And, I've begun to understand why.
Performing arts organizations are complicated enterprises to run. Keeping them afloat prompts ever-new experiments. One of the latest is the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, formed by clarinetist cum entrepreneur Benjamin Mitchell and an ambitious group of L.A. musicians, inspired by NY's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
In that Christmas season trip to Berlin, Bernstein would famously conduct two performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with an international orchestra and chorus assembled from the four countries that once shared the city -- the U.S., Russia, England and France. And he would change one word, so that the "Ode to Joy" became the "Ode to Freedom."