San Diego Union Tribune Feb 8th 2015
The audience favorite was Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 2, composed in 2004 to mark the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Soloist Lisa Moore was stunning in this constantly busy part, laying down an oscillating or arpeggiated foundation over which other instruments sounded. She did have solo moments, played securely and sensitively.
Glass rarely used the entire orchestra, instead singling out percussion, solo winds, brass, or a string section. This reached its apotheosis in the second movement, a depiction of Sacagawea. Elena Yarritu played Native American flute, accompanied by Moore and bassist Christine Allen. It’s the soul of the work, alternating a forlorn melody with brighter dancelike passages; Yarritu’s haunting playing here was assisted by Moore’s and Allen’s sympathetic accompaniment.
In the 1970s, Glass was an innovator on a par with Ligeti and Debussy. His works from the mid-’80s on seem less bold and challenging, less inspired. Glass has evolved since the heyday of Minimalism, his harmonies more inclusive of dissonance, his phrases less repetitive; but for this listener, his earlier work outshines recent efforts.
Others in the audience were clearly moved, demonstrated by cheers and standing ovations at the concerto’s end.
Hertzog is a freelance writer.