Critics along the route of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's North American tour
of John Corigliano
's Symphony No. 1
were profoundly convinced of the symphony's staying power. Mark Swed, reviewing the initial performances of the tour for The Los Angeles Times
, noted how the orchestra, in an "astonishing" performance, "brought back the urgency" of Corigliano's work: "The symphony, which now has the character of a vivid canvas of human struggle
, has never sounded stronger or more important." Writers nationwide agreed:
"The best came first, with a fiercely committed and powerful performance of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1…When it was introduced, this wrenching, frenzied score proved a salve for countless listeners coping with their grief…Mr. Dudamel and the orchestra were presenting the work with the distance of a quarter century. Perhaps it is more possible now to hear the piece as a compelling symphonic score, especially as played in this shattering performance…There was a long standing ovation when Mr. Corigliano appeared onstage."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times "A moving work of rage and remembrance, the symphony shouts and thunders its grief, though one of its most memorable moments is a recurring quiet passage in which the strings play a slow and sorrowful melody while an offstage pianist lofts innocent phrases from an Albeniz tango. The sense of mournful recollection is palpable….When Corigliano took the stage afterward, he was given a prolonged ovation."
— Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe "John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, a 1990 score of extravagant orchestral means and frightening intensity, manages to be personal and cataclysmic at the same time….this performance left no doubt of the power of the score.
— Arthur Kaptainis, National Post (Toronto) "The symphony has lost none of its rage and sorrow, but the source of its rage has receded. We are left with a kind of nostalgia bringing the work into line with so many other great landmarks of the canon…A moving and evocative piece.
— Anne Midgette, The Washington Post "Corigliano's shattering symphony uses extraordinary subtlety to commemorate those he lost to the disease, most poignantly through references to the bittersweet Albeniz/Godowsky "Tango" that a pianist friend had often played….This bold, brilliant work sounded as relevant and involving as ever."
— Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun "After a quarter century, Corigliano's opus can stand as a universal commentary on life and fate."
— Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury-News