Gilbert Conducts Mozart, Schubert, and Mahler

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

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

Tune in Thursday at 9 pm as Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute. The program also consists of Schubert's Overture to The Magic Harp and Mahler's Symphony No. 6.

Conductor:Alan Gilbert

Program:

MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute

SCHUBERT: Overture to The Magic Harp

MAHLER: Symphony No. 6

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

My reaction to the two overtures played is in contradistinction to that of the performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony that I can't conceive of being bettered; and numbers among the most memorable I've ever heard. But the Adagio to the Overture to the "Die Zauberflo"te" ("The Magic Flute") was, forgive my use of this word, ghastly and a misunderstanding of 18th Century --- and Mozart's --- orthography . The consequence of which was that it was played far too fast. The trouble was that the alla breve time signature was misinterpreted. It means the phrasing goes to the half note and it also means that there's dotting which appears sparingly in the "Allegro" section. It should be conduced in 4 rather than in 2, which would allow the "Adagio" its full flowering; and the dotted eight and sixteenth notes --- the "Dreimalige Accord" ("The thrice-sounding chord") heard at the beginning of Act II of the opera, would be more clearly articulated and more readily heard. Once the "Allegro" was arrived at, things were "off and running" and Mozart's genius for motivic development and contrapuntal interplay were clearly defined. The Overture to "Die Zauberharfe", also heard as the Overture to "Rosamunde" began auspiciously enough. The opening "Andante" (3-4, c minor) was `a la mode, but when the "Allegro vivace" was reached (Alla breve, C Major), an unwelcome slowness set in and the texture was heavy and dull-sounding, rather than the joyousness inherent. The conclusion in 6-8 time, that always reminds me of the ending of the first movement of Schubert's "Great" C Major Symphony, sounded fine. It's always a joy to hear the Overture to "Die Zauberharfe"/"Rosamunde", but how disturbing were the details mentioned above. The only quibble I have about the performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony was that the cowbells were completely inaudible. I always plug my internet connection into stereo components and listen at full-room volume, but that remark is the only negative comment I have about the entire performance. An ongoing delight is hearing 4 note and 8 note chords carefully balanced in the reeds and brasses when they're so called upon. The timing of the movements was flawless and the attacks likewise, be they solo or tutti. I'm very much in favor of hearing the "Andante moderato" movement after the first movement "Allegro energico, ma non troppo". Dimitri Mitropoulos, who conducted the New York Philharmonic premiere in 1947 and I think the American premiere, if memory serves, also chose the "Andante moderato" movement to come after the first movement and then the "Scherzo" movement, whose many solos and polymeters held no terrors at all for this, the inheritors of one of Mahler's orchestras. Bravi, Maestro Gilbert and New York Philharmonic.

Dec. 04 2016 02:50 PM

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