Review: Steven Mackey’s world-premiere “Shivaree” trumpet concerto at Los Angeles Philharmonic

Posted on: October 29, 2021

“Shivaree, chthonian, erumpent, tintinnabulation, exonumia, requiescat, deipnosophist, omphaloskepsis…” writes Mark Swed in Tuesday’s (10/26) Los Ángeles Times. “These are the words, retrieved from the Dictionary.com ‘Word of the Day’ feature, that flashed above each of the 12 short movements of Steven Mackey’s dazzling, daffy ‘Shivaree: Fantasy for Trumpet and Orchestra,’ the latest Los Angeles Philharmonic commission, on Friday night. First came the word, which was followed by Mackey’s short, fantastical musical response. The definition was flashed afterward, just as the next movement was about to start without pause in a crazy-making symphonic exonumia that resembles a concerto but isn’t technically supposed to be a concerto (even though the piece fits the Dictionary.com definition of concerto just fine). The commission was specifically for a ‘Fantasy’ and for the orchestra’s principal trumpet, Thomas Hooten…. Mackey credited Hooten, with whom he consulted over a two-year process of composition, as co-conspirator in the many farfetched sonic effects the soloist miraculously produced…. Mackey’s Fantasy [preceded] Mahler’s sweetly fanciful Fourth Symphony in the program, which was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and which began with Jessie Montgomery’s own brief bit of orchestral fancy, ‘Strum,’ turning the L.A. Phil string section into a lavish guitar.”