Beethoven, Shostakovich and Gershwin

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert leads the orchestra in Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture and Symphony No. 1, as well as Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 — with Lisa Batiashvili as soloist — and Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Program details:

Beethoven: Fidelio Overture

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1

Gershwin: An American in Paris

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

This concert was an utter delight to hear. Maestro Gilbert achieved a degree of clarity and definition in each of the four works that I simply haven't heard in treasured recorded performances. In the Overture to "Fidelio", the horns highs and lows were exemplary, especially the low E. In the "Presto" section, the flutes' triplets were again clear. Maestro Gilbert asked the Orchestra for a crescendo seven bars before the end, an interpretive situation I've not encountered before; and the one quibble I have, born of personal preference, is that the trumpets predominate rather than blend with the woodwinds in climactic forte passages. I also felt this way in the climactic parts of the Beethoven First Symphony. The Shostakovich Violin Concerto should be make availabe for purchase either by C.D. (if that's not antiquated by now) and/or download, so totally did Ms. Biatishvili and the Orchestra capture all that's in the conception and spirit of this supreme masterwork. The contasts were blazingly clear: Notturno, Scherzo, Passacaglia and Burlesca. In sum, this was a fierce revelation of this work by one and all. The performance reminds me of the David Ostrakh/Dimitri Mitropoulos/NY Philharmonic performance of it in 1956 (released on Fonit Cetra in Italy) shortly after the world premiere. The Beethoven First Symphony again had clarity and a predominant timpani part throughout, not often encountered, but I feel all to the good. The tempi were appropriate and taken literally throughout. The Trio in the Third Movement shown with the woodwinds and srings. The notoriously tricky fast start of the Fourth Movement after the unison G in the full orchestra came off with sureness and ease. Of my favorite recordings of "An American in Paris" that include that of two former New York Philharmonic music directors, Artur Rodzinski and Leonard Bernstein and that of Toscanini and the NBC Symphony that regrettably, takes the optional" cut of the major seventh (two bars after Grandioso and two bars before Presto" No. 77. This performance by Maestro Gilbert and the Orchestra is my favorite from the standpoins of verve, appropriateness of style and clarity. There are so many contrapuntal voices moving in it that I heard to a much greater extent than in the previous performances cited. At the end of the performance, someone was moved to let out a whooping yell of approval. If I were in attendance, I would have to. Bravissimo to Maestro and to the Orchestra.

Feb. 12 2014 04:11 PM

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