Alan Gilbert conducts Copland, Gershwin and Porter

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. (Chris Lee)

Tune in Thursday at 9 pm to hear Alan Gilbert conduct the New York Philharmonic in a program that includes Copland's Suite from Appalachian Spring and Selections from Old American Songs, Books 1 & II as well as songs from Gershwin and Cole Porter..

The performance features baritone Thomas Hampson.

CONDUCTOR: Alan Gilbert
SOLOIST: Thomas Hampson, baritone


COPLAND: Suite from Appalachian Spring
COPLAND: Selections from Old American Songs, Books 1 & II:

  1. The Dodger
  2. Simple Gifts
  3. The Little Horses
  4. The Golden Willow Tree
  5. The Boatmen’s Dance


  1. 1. Night and Day
  2. 2. Who Said Gay Paree?
  3. 3. Where Is the Life that Late I Led?
  4. 4. In the Still of the Night
  5. 5. Begin the Beguine

An American in Paris

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

This New Year's Eve Concert that dates from 2009 had the Aaron Copland and Cole Porter songs as centerpieces; and they were all given full measure of stylistic exuberance and the expected technical excellence afforded by Thomas Hampson. Mr. Hampson's repertoire in opera ranging from "Don Giovanni" to "Werther", to "Athanae"l" in "Tha"is", to his Mahler lieder, to his Gaby in Bernstein's "On the Town" are all impressive and attest to a serious artist's inquiring and expanding curiosity and mastery of his art. The arrangements for the Porter songs were especially charming and atmospheric: the final cadences in the brass section almost overwhelmed his high notes, to my hearing. More importantly, it sounded like all were having a good time with some iconic songs of an iconic North American popular music composer that I've never heard the New York Philharmonic play before. There was no chance of imbalance in the Copland songs, since the composer's orchestral...or rather, chamber music-like scoring...prevented that. He calls for 1 each of flute or piccolo, oboe, 2 clarinets. 1 bassoon, 2 horns (1 for songs in Book I), 1 trombone, harp and strings. "The Little Horses" and "The Golden Willow Tree" are in Book II. Soloist and instrumentalists were again of one mind. "An American in Paris" boasted a clarity and transparancy throughout that allowed the three saxophones their inner voices to be heard more than usual, I think, especially at 9 bars after Number 45 where the solo trumpet begins. At number 57, though, I thought a bit more accents and exaggerated syncopations would have been the order of the day: it sounded a bit "straight-laced" by my lights; and I don't think that's the intention here. "Appalachian Spring", too, had a clarity and transparency, but, as I wished for a more "jazzed-up" sound at Number 57 in "An American...", so, too, I wished for more of a square-dance gusto in "Appalachian..." starting at Number 23 "Fast". I wait apparently in vain for tighter flute solo vibrato at Number 14 and at the end at Number 71 "Andante, very calm". Although there's no indication in the orchestra score to slow the pulse at Number 71, which practice I prefer, the composer's recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra has such and does seem wholly convincing, especially after all the playfulness and exuberance of the previous material with its rapidly-changing meters.

Jan. 08 2017 02:31 PM

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