A Steven Stucky New York Premiere, Barber and Rachmaninoff

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Avery Fisher Hall Avery Fisher Hall (Flickr/feil)

The January broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic this Week begin with music director Alan Gilbert conducting the New York premiere of Steven Stucky’s Symphony, a Philharmonic co-commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Also on the program is Barber’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham as soloist, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Program details:

Steven Stucky: Symphony.

Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14.

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances.

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Comments [2]

Les from Miami, Florida

The two almost mid-twentieth century works, the Barber "Violin Concerto", and Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances" are long-time favorites, and I've never heard either played better than by Gil Shaham, The New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert. All the lyricism of the first two movements of the concerto was thorougly brought out, as was the rough-and-ready last movement romp. With the treasured recording of "Symphonic Dances" by its dedicatee's, Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra as my standard, this performance is the equal. All the languor, lyricism and the awe-struck moment in the final movement when the "Dies Irae" theme comes in were there. Robert Russell Bennett was asked by Rachmaninoff for assistance in scoring for the E flat Saxophone in "Symphonic Dances". Be that as it may, it's all Rachmaninoff. My own feeling is that there's happiness trying to show its face, but can't quite display itself: as though covered by a mask. Maybe it does in the last 10 bars of the first movement "Non allegro" and in the last 12 bars of the last movement, "Lento assai". Again,that's a purely personal subjective impression.

Jan. 06 2013 02:03 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

I was quite swept up by the Stucky "Symphony", and I liked his explanation beforehand, including his noting the passing of the anti-harmony vogue of the 20th century. This piece was tonal but certainly not cliched, and it had power that made you want to listen, as opposed to forcing yourself to listen as with much of the "leaky pen" genre.

Jan. 04 2013 09:55 AM

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