The unimpeachable John von Rhein (who, you know, used to hang out with Carlo Maria Giulini and knows a truly great conductor when he sees one) reviews a Dudamel concert and after admitting that the "dynamo" conductor is a breath of fresh air because "(n)ow, more than ever, classical music needs its knight-errants on silver steeds", gets down to business.
There's no question he is inordinately talented, a brilliant and inspiring podium dervish who can get an orchestra to do anything he wishes while lifting an audience out of its seats. Even so, there sometimes appears to be a disconnect between the musical ends and the means he employs to achieve them. Half-formed interpretative ideas betray a lack of musical depth. The problem is not so much one of faulty instincts as where and how he channels those instincts.
His program showed Dudamel at his flashiest.
Dudamel looked to be in ecstasy on the podium, slashing the air with his baton, crouching and levitating as he drove the Russian warhorse onward. But that visual show of emotion did not translate into a particularly coherent or deeply felt reading. Pacing was erratic, balances were careless and there were noticeable lapses of tension between melodramatic effusions
The "O" word that comes to mind after reading a review such as this one of an artist as massively hyped as Dudamel ("60 Minutes" segment here), obviously, is, "overrated".