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*+-I wish I had thought of it first: “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” That was how the papers received Lorin Maazel’s death. And it’s a telling remark for anyone who reminisces about the conductor. Maazel was a genius who solved differential calculus problems for fun. He bored easily, was prone to arrogance, and it became his tendency to pull music around until it interested him again. This did not always work with audiences. At times the music could sound like an equation, itself.
*+-New York Philharmonic Avery Fisher Hall February 16, 2013 Alan Gilbert, conductor Rudolf Buchbinder, piano Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique” Imagine a kinder, gentler nineteenth century, one not with Schopenhauer, but Oprah, as the Prime Comforter—a time when Johannes Brahms might have found antibiotics […]
*+-The New York Philharmonic sounded particularly courtly under the direction of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in a recent program of Mozart and Mahler. Already the entrance of the maestro, tall, magisterial, and impeccable in his tails, transported one back to the golden days of music-making in Imperial Vienna. Conducting from a seated position on the […]
*+-It isn’t often that two luminaries of the entertainment world publicly mark major milestones in the same week and city. Yet such was the case last week in New York: on Tuesday, Garrison Keillor reflected upon seven decades of life in a special appearance with the New York Philharmonic, and on Thursday, Barbara Cook celebrated her eighty-fifth birthday in Carnegie Hall, exactly one week in anticipation of the actual day.
*+-I was so delighted by Emanuel Ax’s performance of Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under Ken-David Masur that I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to hear him play it again. They created a crystalline texture with their alert interactions, with all the incisiveness of the best chamber music playing. Not exactly what one associates with the New York Philharmonic, as excellent an orchestra as they have been, since Kurt Masur’s t years, but, in my experience, Alan Gilbert is strong with twentieth century Music, and it seemed like a promising combination to say the least…and it did work, although in a way quite different from the Tanglewood performance.
*+-I caught recently one of the concerts given in Davies Hall by the New York Philharmonic, my old hometown band, as part of our 100th Anniversary Season. It was enough to set me thinking again about the role a good hall plays in shaping the fame of an ensemble.
Fifty years of struggle with the Lincoln Center acoustic has clearly left its mark on the New York orchestra’s reputation — though I must say not on the quality of its playing — which remains stunningly world class. But one is surprised to find in the sonority a burnished warmth and tonal delicacy similar to that of the Cleveland Orchestra. Understated tonal virtues have seldom been possible at Broadway and 65th Street. At least in the way we think of the orchestra. But they were notable here and speak well of Alan Gilbert’s Music Directorship.
*+-Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Photo Chris Lee. The New York Philharmonic Alan Gilbert, conductor Yefim Bronfman, piano Davies Hall, San Francisco Sunday, May 13, 2012 Dvořák – Carnival Overture, Opus 92 Lindberg – Piano Concerto No. 2 Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Opus 36 I caught recently one of the concerts given in […]
*+-The New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert Music Director, 2009-2010 Season Preview Opening Night Gala: Magnus Lindberg, Messiaen, and Berlioz Avery Fisher Hall Free Open Rehearsal, 9:45 A.M. Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 7:30 P.M. Live From Lincoln Center Alan Gilbert, Conductor Renée Fleming, Soprano Magnus Lindberg Expo (World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Commission) Messiaen Poèmes Pour Mi […]