Having heard another Adams premiere — the intense, harrowing, Pulitzer-winning On the Transmigration of Souls — in Orange County earlier last week, I might be justified in regarding Dharma as something of a lightweight. On the other hand, the Pacific Chorale and Pacific Symphony were so poorly led by John Alexander, miles out of his depth, that I’m not sure I heard the work at all. Both works, obviously, need further hearing. Both proclaim Adams as one of our worthiest modern masters. Meanwhile, back at Disney, further exultation on the matter of Friday’s program devolves upon the phenomenal Yo-Yo Ma, set loose on Witold Lutoslawski’s gloriously quizzical Cello Concerto. Lutoslawski, another worthy master, visited us often in his time and is much missed; this concerto from 1970, with its fascinating back-and-forth argle-bargle between soloist and orchestra and its trick ending that leaves you dangling, belongs among his masterpieces.
I’ve left myself no space to gurgle about the Disney surroundings: the gardens, the great blue cabbage rose of a fountain, the sense of belonging that it shares with the city around it. Among last week’s masterpieces, the sunset on Thursday night also deserves honored mention. Our new hall has already earned its blessing from On High.