Delving into the music of Alberic Magnard is to reach deep into the heart of French culture. Magnard was a subtle, aristocratic composer, trading in understatement. If you enjoy the delicate chromaticism of Gabriel Fauré, or Albert Roussel’s early works, such as his First Symphony, Poème de la forêt, you will love Magnard. If you are looking for the more obvious charms of Berlioz, Dukas, Franck or Saint-Saëns, you may be disappointed. Magnard is like Franck, but turned inward and away from Franck’s saccharine religiosity. Despite all the forte moments one could want, this is music best heard with the lights low and a log in the fireplace.
The evening was glorious with eight beautiful dancers moving effortlessly through three movements that relate to the “world’s melting pot of culture, New York City.” Before the performance started, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, the company’s artistic director, took the audience through a lot of technology involving cell phones and an app that had to be downloaded and installed on phones. It may have deepened the experience for some but I thought it awkward, unnecessary—and mostly unworkable. Millennials probably loved it.