Carlo Maria Giulini brought the Los Angeles Philharmonic, of which he is now music director, to the Kennedy Center yesterday afternoon to give an indication of the kind of music he is making with his new charges of the West Coast.
In Weber's Freischuetz Overture, the "Mathis der Maler" symphony of Hindemith, and the Eroica of Beethoven, Giulini made some strong impressions. He also raised some interesting questions for which there may be new answers when the orchestra returns late next fall.
At present the orchestra's choirs are well balanced within themselves but at times the violins sound a bit overshadowed by the brass. This may be due to unfamilarity with the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
Or it may be a hangover from the often overdriven sound that Giulini's predecessor, Zubin Mehta, usually demanded. In all three works, Guilini took a deliberate course. There was a strong feeling that the entire orchestra was playing expressively for him, reflecting the broad approach he favors. There were slightly long pauses in the Hindemith; ritards seemed unduly extended. But the pacing of the symphony was much as its composer used to employ.
The Beethoven symphony emerged in broadly classic lines, with moderate tempos and absolute clarity among voices. Again slight pauses and ritards-in the trio of the scherzo for example-raised questions of effect. But Giulini and the Los Angeles musicians are getting along famously and their future appearances will be of special interest.