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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pianist Inon Barnatan. Pianist Inon Barnatan. (Marco Borggreve)

Music Director Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with soloist Inon Barnatan in his debut with the orchesta. The program also includes Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx, Debussy’s Jeux, and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite.

Program playlist:
Salonen: Nyx
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
Debussy: Jeux
Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

Esa-Pekka Salonen's piece, "Nyx", first heard in 2011 and conducted by the composer, shows his mastery of orchestration and ear for combining many orchestral timbres. The percussion battery is unusally large, requiring three players: one on vibraphone, the second glockenspiel tam-tam and tom-toms, the third bass drum, high bongos, wood block, tubular bells, sizzle cymbal and low gongs; and there is a celesta doubling piano in addition to the reeds, brass, strings and harp. I wonder what Ravel and Debussy might have thought about Mr. Salonen's piece, who I think is a contemporary musical acolyte of theirs. On first hearing, I didn't grasp the forward motion's destination(s), but there is much to admire in it. It seems very gestural and motivic, much as Debussy's "Jeux" still seems to me. About "Jeux", there's much in the way of divided strings and changing meters; and Debussy even writes "Rubato" over a couple of sections. The "dissonant" chord (whose spelling eludes me) in bar 5 that re-appears at the end, strikes me as being the only one that may "pull the focus" of a first-time listener, albeit a quiet one. The Ravel Concerto in G, dedicated to Marguerite Long, brings to mind her recording of it that is the touchstone for this listener. Mr. Barnatan evoked the spirit of the concerto throughout, though in the first movement at the indication for "less movement" there seemed to be too much of a longeur for my taste. That aside, the jazz-inspired first movement had the right dash and insoucience as exemplified by the cheeky E flat clarinet and trombone glissandi. The beautiful second movement was magic itself in Mr. Barnatan's opening solo that contains the main theme from which variations are played in the flute, oboe, clarinet, english horn and bassoons that follow, in which the piano assumes the role of accompanist. The whirlwind "Presto" third movement was exactly that; and great compliment is due Alan Gilbert for maintaining the tempo throughout the changes in meter. In listening to the concert again via the Philharmonic website, because of a technical glitch, "Jeux" was incomplete and Alec Baldwin's closing remarks were heard. I didn't hear the Suite from "Der Rosenkavalier".

May. 24 2015 02:11 PM

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