Gilbert Conducts Christopher Rouse, Bloch and Brahms

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and MarieJosée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and MarieJosée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse. (Chris Lee)

In the final New York Philharmonic broadcast of February, Music Director Alan Gilbert leads the orchestra in Phantasmata by The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse; Bloch's Schelomo, featuring cellist Jan Vogler; and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1.

Program details:

Rouse: Phantasmata

Bloch: Schelomo

Brahms: Symphony No. 1

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

I was convinced with the middle part of "Phanatasmata" that Mr. Rouse said was first composed and stood alone. It has a propulsive drive to it and is replete with varied orchestral colors and timbres that seemed "all of a piece" whereas the two outer movements or sections did not. "Schelomo" is poignant as it is high in drama as evidenced by the exrtreme range the solo 'cello encompasses, including a high A an octave over middle A and a low E in both of the harps. A quarter tone sharp is called for in the solo part on the note C one octave above Middle C. The rhythmic mottos in perfect fourths and fifths on the brass were clearly brought out. In the uppermost register against full orchestral tutti, I wished for a more intense vibrato: exaggerated. I may be a minority of one. The Brahms First Symphony was monumental and majestic in scope and boasts of the clearest textures I've ever heard, not the least of which are the delineations between the first and second violins (who play so often in thirds) thanks to their seatings opposite each other. The joy of this was topped off by being able to hear the precise moment at which the second violins drop to the lower octave from their unison playing with the first violins in the Introduction in the First Movement. The timpani must be given credit as being the most clearly articulated performance of his part of the many that I've ever heard --- and own --- including present-day as well as historical performances of this work. Clarity also informed the contrabasson's part. The Second Movement boasted of the clarity, once again, of a section playing triplets against the melody singing in the woodwinds. The violin and horn solos shone. There was a slight rallantando in the final two bars of the movement. The five-bar beginning of the Third Movement boded well and the divided violas were clearly heard at the movement's end. The Fourth Movement again underscored the importance of the "Beethoven's Fifth" motto of short-short-short-long that permeates so much of the first and last movements. At "Piu` Andante" it's intended that the tempo not be slowed, but I've never heard a performance live or recorded that played it thus (as indicated by "12-12-6-6-12" over the timpani's dotted quarter and half-notes. The solo horn and solo flute were sonorous in their solos, as were the bassoons, contrabassoon, horns and trombones intoning their chorale-like melody that bears fruit at the end of the movement in a peroration befitting a pipe organ. This performance and this program is another triumph for Maestro Gilbert amd should be well remembered. The audience response at the end of the Brahms First Symphony was hearty and enthusiastic. I wish I were among them.

Mar. 02 2014 02:08 PM

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