New York Philharmonic

Gilbert conducts NY Phil in Berlioz, Bartók, Debussy, & Ravel

Ny-phil-gilbert* Notes * 
Last night Alan Gilbert and New York Philharmonic (pictured left) played a second performance at San Francisco Symphony. The evening began with a very cheerful Le Corsaire Overture by Berlioz. Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 1 was sober in contrast, and soloist Glenn Dicterow played elegantly, with long lines. Dicterow listened carefully to the rest of the orchestra, not a surprise given that he is the concertmaster. At one point the violinist's sheet music was blown the wrong way, and Gilbert reached over to smooth out the page. showed a predilection for strong contrasts. After intermission we heard Debussy's La Mer, which was energetic. The harps were particularly good. The last piece was Ravel's La Valse. The orchestra seemed to relish the bits that were loud and fast, sounding rather bright and happy. There were two encores, including Emmanuel Chabrier's España and another that only involved the brass.

* Tattling * 
There was scolding before the performance began as photographs are not allowed in Davies. Otherwise, the audience was rather quiet. A young woman in Row W Seat 15 of the orchestra level could not help but point out various instruments and whispered various explanations to the other girl in Seat 13. Fortunately, this only happened on two occasions.

Andris Nelsons at NY Philharmonic

RehearsalAndrisNelsons_0008 * Notes * 
Last week Andris Nelsons conducted the New York Philharmonic in a program of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Pianist Jonathan Biss sounded less mechanical than I remembered. He listened to the orchestra and kept with them. The Allegro con brio was agile and the Largo rather dreamy. The Shostakovich was engaging and well-played. The Allegretto was biting, the Largo here elegant.

* Tattling *
There was light talking from students. Biss had an odd way of bobbling his head during the final movement of the Beethoven. The maestro made many dramatic gesticulations and made low gutteral sounds as he conducted.

Muti at NY Philharmonic

Muti * Notes * 
Riccardo Muti conducted the New York Philharmonic in a program of Lizst, Elgar, and Prokofiev last Thursday, and I attended a lively open rehearsal in that morning. The orchestra was in street clothes, as one would expect, and Muti himself was perfectly coiffed, looking foppish in his hot pink sweater. Lizst's Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3 began the day, and it was surprising how much stopping and starting there was, it truly was a working rehearsal. This was followed by a rather lovely performance of Elgar's In the South (Alassio), which Muti explained was a odd title for him, since Alassio is north of where he is from. The trumpets sounded beautifully clear, and the viola solo came off very nicely. After a brief intermission, we heard selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. The orchestra played with exuberance. After one movement Muti commented "What is missing is a sense of dance, a sense of the body that moves," and it was obvious he had a fine rapport with the musicians.

* Tattling *
A hearing aid screeched a few times at the beginning of the Liszt. There was some talking from the students in attendance, and a mobile phone rang during the Prokofiev.