Tag Archive: New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmonic; Alan Gilbert, conductor; Yefim Bronfman, piano; at Davies Hall, San Francisco, play Dvořák, Lindberg, and Tchaikovsky

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Photo Chris Lee.

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.

The New York Philharmonic; Alan Gilbert, conductor; Yefim Bronfman, piano; at Davies Hall, San Francisco, play Dvořák, Lindberg, and Tchaikovsky

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Photo Chris Lee.

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 –…
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Gergiev’s Russian Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements, Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments, Le Sacre du Printemps

Igor Stravinsky in 1930

In recent years, I’ve had the feeling that Stravinsky, with the exception of his Sacre du Printemps and the vastly overplayed Pulcinella, has fallen somewhat into neglect. We rarely hear the great choral and dramatic works like Agon and Oedipus Rex, Mass, or even the Symphony of Psalms, not to mention the ballet, Les Noces. James Levine has a predilection for Stravinsky, and he has conducted fine performances of the Sacre and some others, but his effort has been tepid in comparison to his obsessive combing over Mahler, season after season, in preparation for the centenary of the composer’s death year in 2011. Hence Gergiev’s Stravinsky Festival with the New York Philharmonic is especially welcome, and I very much regret that I was not able to attend more than one of the concerts.

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