Israel Philharmonic concert in L.A. met by demonstrations

Posted on: March 3, 2011

In Thursday’s (3/3) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed writes about the Israel Philharmonic’s March 1 concert led by Zubin Mehta at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which took place as protesters outside demonstrated against the Palestinian policies of the Israeli government. “In boycotting the concert, the protesters missed a performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony that presented a kind of truth and represented a kind of peace that regularly escapes even well-intentioned political leaders. …This was a great performance, and I don’t think the political context should be ignored…. Its players tend to be Russian, Eastern European and Israeli Jews. But there is probably no major orchestra in the world more contentiously diverse in its politics and attitudes. Orchestra members who champion Palestinian settlements share music stands with those who adamantly oppose them…. The Fifth begins with a trumpet call, and Tuesday it was radically, and excitingly, klezmer-like…. The Finale was the high point. After a troubled first half, Mahler turns happy, and conductors have long struggled with what that’s supposed to mean. Mehta here allowed in many individual voices in the solos. It was, well, Haydnesque, in a playful way I’ve never heard before, and thrilling…. This was Mahler showing that the world is not one way or another, but many ways at once.”

Posted March 3, 2011