John Adams' Fearful Symmetries is a musical romp of sorts through various genres and tonal terrains, which is why the composer calls it an example of his "traveling music," i.e. "music that gives the impression of continuous movement over a shifting landscape." Written in 1988, on the heels of the first performances of Nixon in China, Fearful Symmetriescontinues in that opera's vein, a fact of which Adams was well aware. "Apparently I had more to say in that particular style," he noted, although he emphasized that Fearful Symmetries was a purely instrumental work in which "the gestures are more emphatic and the music is more closely allied to pop and minimalist rock." Utilizing everything from big band brass and winds to a saxophone quartet and a keyboard sampler for the percussion elements, Fearful Symmetries has a driving beat that's enticed many a choreographer, and this week, in Music of the Dance, Bramwell Tovey (pictured) leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the "incredibly acrobatic" members of the Diavolo Dance Theater in a newly commissioned version of the work Adams fondly refers to as "a seriously aerobic piece, a Pantagruel boogie." Also on the program: Hector Berlioz's arrangement to Weber's Invitation to the Dance and Igor Stravinsky's dazzling Firebird Ballet Suite.
Thu., Sept. 9, 8 p.m., 2010