“Just two weeks into L.A. Philharmonic’s centenary season, the farsighted orchestra … has already debuted several significant works, including local composer Andrew Norman’s ambitious environmental-temporal orchestral epic Sustain,” writes Falling James in Monday’s (10/8) LA Weekly. Conducted by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, “the roughly 45-minute instrumental piece was the centerpiece of the orchestra’s official season opener…. Sustain opened with long, slow waves of icy strings…. A streak of clarinet was followed by simmering, momentous cymbals as the composer evoked the passage of time…. Norman explained he was playing with ‘the idea that time is this exponential thing.’ … Sustain unfolded steadily and built a creeping intensity and somber, unsettling mood…. Sometimes the strings subsided, leaving behind a network of horns and percussion. When the strings rushed back in, everything sped up, and individual parts mimicked the pitch-bending Doppler effect of automobile horns approaching and passing by…. Spare, bittersweet flecks from [two] pianos melted into a retreating tide of foam and spaces as Sustain wound down gently…. The work lingered enough in the memory afterward that the busy, sunny streets and skyscrapers of downtown L.A. seemed like shiny baubles perched only temporarily on the spine of the moving Earth.”

Posted October 11, 2018

In photo: Composer Andrew Norman, whose “Sustain” was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic last weekend