New York Philharmonic's Season Opener: 'The Rite' and Beethoven

Listen to the Full Concert Below

« previous episode | next episode »

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 pm, WQXR broadcast the New York Philharmonic's opening night concert from Avery Fisher Hall.

Music director Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic restructured the opening of their season so that it began with a substantial subscription program rather than a gala concert. As such, the concert begins with the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in Gyorgy Kurtag’s ...quasi una fantasia... and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

The evening's second half belongs to Stravinsky. In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of its scandalous premiere, the Philharmonic presents The Rite of Spring. The piece that sparked the most famous riot in music history, on May 29, 1913, still packs a visceral punch.

Below is the archive of our live chat.

Program:

Gyorgy Kurtag: ... quasi una fantasia ...

 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Alan Gilbert, music director

Leif Ove Andsnes, pianist

Listen: Philharmonic patrons on why they came to the morning dress rehearsal:

Kim Nowacki/WQXR

WQXR was up bright and early to broadcast live from the Lincoln Center Plaza where people lined up for a ticket the New York Philharmonic's free dress rehearsal, a tradition now in its sixth year. Oihana Basilio, a tourist from Spain, arrived in line around 8 a.m.

Kim Nowacki/WQXR

The first person in line (name withheld because he's skipping work) arrived at 4:15 a.m. He said he likes watching the New York morning evolve.

Kim Nowacki/WQXR
Alexander McKenzie, a 23-year-old tourist from Copenhagen, is a fan of the night's soloist Lief Ove Andsnes.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR

WQXR host Elliott Forrest spoke with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes about his Beethoven Journey. For the New York Philharmonic's 2012-13 season opener, Andsnes will performBeethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Kim Nowacki/WQXR
Photo Op: Leif Ove Andsnes, New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, 21C Media Group's Albert Imperato, and New York Philharmonic Executive Director Matthew VanBesien.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
A person in line snaps a photo of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert chatting with WQXR's Elliott Forrest.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic (spread throughout the hall) in Kurtag's '...quasi una fantasia...'
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
The New York Philharmonic and soloist Leif Ove Andsnes perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
The New York Philharmonic and soloist Leif Ove Andsnes perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
The New York Philharmonic and soloist Leif Ove Andsnes perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
The New York Philharmonic perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert grins during Wednesday's performance.
Kim Nowacki/WQXR
A standing ovation at intermission for soloist Leif Ove Andsnes.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [8]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama institute, Boonton, NJ

I well remember the WQXR broadcast of the concert. it was an evening to relish the playing by the NY Philharmonic of the Beethoven and Stravinsky. Maestro Alan Gilbert programs a wider range of program selections, all valid, than hardly any other conductor in my memory and conducts them with the appropriate savvy, clarity and enthusiasm. Kudos to all concerned.

Nov. 16 2012 08:52 PM
Wally from Manhattan

I always found "The Rite of Spring" scattered and formless, as
oppposed to "Firebird" and "Petrouchka." Listening to Alan Gilbert and the NY Phil play it, for the first time I feel
I heard the drama and brilliance, and really "got" it. Thank you.

Sep. 22 2012 12:50 PM
George from Manhattan

It is great of you to have this concert available to play from your website. My NY Phil subscription did not include this program so I am even more grateful.

Sep. 21 2012 04:14 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

First, another thanks to WQXR for airing this season opener of the Philharmonic and putting it on the Internet. I'll pass on the Kurtag piece. In the Beethoven concerto, I was really taken by the Principal Flute and Principal Bassoon playing to each other in the subsidiary theme, in which the piano plays an arepeggiated accompaniment. I also learned two things from this performance. In the last movement, one bar before the corona and the change to 6/8, it sounded like the Timpani played a triplet figure rather than the roll as written. This seemed to set up the triplet figure that is written for it nine bars later in the "Presto" section. I'd never heard this before. In the last movement, I was equally taken by the second violins echoing the same phrasing of the three-note cell that the movement begins with, (later by the Violas, 'Cellos and Contrabasses), but the real Eureka moment occured when Mr. Adsnes played the eight note A in octaves alternating with one another then turning into E in the bass and G-sharp in the treble. This seemed to underline the connection with the slow movement in the "unusual" E major. I never thought about that before, either. "The Rite..." was a real knockout, not only from the loud dynamics (I would have liked even louder horns if that's humanly possible!) but from the beauty of the long-lined Principal Bassoon solo in tenor clef that opens the work as well as the beauty of the sonority of the d minor-based opening to "The Sacrifice" part. It was equally ominous and scary, as was the moment right before the last chord sounds (the upward scale passage on the principal Flute and Flute in G played with a longer pause than usually heard...another of those times when time seems to stand still and we all hold our breaths. What usually doesn't get mentioned is that when Pierre Monteux played the work again in concert, there was no riot. The riot was as much provoked by the "modern" choreography as the music. Nijinsky was shouting the meters to the dancers, but by the time they were uttered, the passages referred to had already been played.

Sep. 20 2012 09:34 AM
Peter Feldman from New York City

Leif Ove Andsnes is a good pianist but he is not any Claudio Arrau. Why Egveny Kissin did not open the season instead?

Sep. 19 2012 08:53 PM
Edwin J MacCaffrey from Florida

I'm listening to the Gyorgy Kurtag composition and the thought that comes to mind is: When was the last time a NY Phil audience booed at a performance.
The piece just ended. No booes but not much of an applause.

Sep. 19 2012 07:46 PM
Bernie from UWS

Will the girl in the photo be there tonight? What a hottie!

Sep. 19 2012 04:58 PM
David Jaeger from Toronto

I'll definitely be listening here in Toronto. Thank you WQXR!!

Sep. 19 2012 08:40 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.