When it comes to violin concerti, there's none greater than the Brahms. "The" because it's the only violin concerto Brahms ever wrote—and we're lucky that it survived, as the composer was notorious for destroying works that didn't live up to his perfectionist expectations. Fortunately, Brahms dedicated the concerto to his dear friend Joseph Joachim, the most famous violinist of the age, so it would have been tough to back out on it even if he was feeling picky. Joachim premiered the work in Leipzig on New Year's Day, 1879, and it has mesmerized performers and audiences ever since. The first movement soars with passion, beauty and typical Brahmsian complexity; the second movement is a virtual prayer that gives goose bumps to the soul; and the third tingles with an exciting Gypsy flair and dazzling technical brilliance. This week, at "Dudamel and Shaham," one of the greatest violinists of our age, Gil Shaham, performs the Brahms — a favorite of his since he was 10 — with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel; the program includes the Funeral Music from Wagner's Gotterdammerung, and that always-welcome orchestral gem, Schumann's Symphony No. 3 ("Rhenish"). Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 21-23, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 2 p.m.; $23.75- $79. Upbeat Live pre-concert talk with Asadour Santourian, artistic adviser, Aspen Music Festival, one hour prior to concerts. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com.
Feb. 21-23, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 2 p.m., 2013