Mozart and Bruckner

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Emanuel Ax, pianist Emanuel Ax, pianist (Lisa Marie Mazzucco)

Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 with Emanuel Ax as soloist, followed by Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3.

Program playlist:
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

These two composers whose works are featured this week, despite stylistic differences and climaxes to phrases light years apart
elicit the best from Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic that can play anything and be persuasive enough upon hearing their work to belive their performances definitive. The Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25 again had the mellifluous tone and feeling for ornamentation as displayed in all three movements, but especially in the second (slow) movement in which he added ornamentation of his own in almost every bar, Without following the score, I'd have thought everything the solo piano played was by Mozart. I'm always taken --- as surely as I was on this occasion --- by the balance of woodwinds and strings, whether in solo or tutti combinations. In particular, I was struck by how seamless a sonority the woodwinds made while playing diminished seventh chords which --- I think --- must have shaken audiences in Mozart's day no matter how exact the intonation of the instruments of his day. The Bruckner Third Symphony's third revision was a master example of sonority and balance, as in the Mozart concerto --- instrumentation comprising flute, and the other woodwinds in pairs, pairs of horns and trumpets and strings --- but with the added compliment of four horns, three trumpets and three trombones in addition to the woodwinds in pairs, timpani and strings. I thought the pauses as indicated in the score between phrases were carefully considered and not rushed which would destroy the architecture. Surely Bruckner had his St. Florian Cathedral's sound in mind all the time he was composing as well as playing the organ there. I even supplied my own mental reverberations during those pauses, realizing that Avery Fisher Hall doesn't allow for same. The open fifths so reminiscent and derivative of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony beginning offer portent of other greatness and magnanimity of thought in Bruckner's symphony; and when they return in the final movement a sense of the end originating from the beginning is realized. The concluding bars of the work are a hallmark of Bruckner's glorious writing for brass (with no Wagner tubas in this symphony, however) whose power and majesty of utterance shone against the reiterated duple rhythm in the strings and the triplets in the horns. It's programs and performances like this that make one sorry Mr. Gilbert has chosen to leave the New York Philharmonic by his own choosing.

Mar. 22 2015 02:32 PM

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