OBITER DICTA: FOR ME THE GREAT MOment in Martha Argerich's steaming trajectory through Chopin's E-minor Piano Concerto was her first entry: the impatience, violently voiced, after the agonizingly long and crudely orchestrated preamble (its length unmitigated by Emmanuel Krivine's woolly reading with the Philharmonic on the first night). Yes, the nocturnal slow movement passed by on moonbeams; yes, the finale danced enchantingly. But was it really worth the 18-year wait for this one-of-a-kind musician to impose upon us so mealy-mouthed an excuse for a concerto while the masterworks languish for her touch?
I had never paid much attention to Prokofiev's Cinderella ballet score, regarding it as inferior to his Romeo and Juliet. (But then, what isn't?) At the Ahmanson, performed by an undersize orchestra but crowned with the captivating originality of Matthew Bourne's reworking of the old legend, it is magically transformed: music full of enchanting flicker, its great waltz an amazing study of dark shadows against daylight. Any number of ballets make an insignificant score tolerable through great dancing (e.g., Giselle); this new Cinderella makes an insignificant score significant, and that's a lot harder.