Listen: Valery Gergiev Leads the Vienna Philharmonic

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Vienna Philharmonic (smwright/flickr)

On Feb. 26, WQXR hosted a live broadcast from Carnegie Hall, with Valery Gergiev leading the Vienna Philharmonic in a trio of expressive works, rich in orchestral illustrations. Both Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman and Debussy’s La mer evoke qualities of the sea, while Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition dazzles with its descriptions of the opening Promenade to the famous “Great Gate of Kiev.”

WQXR morning show host Jeff Spurgeon joined renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham to host the broadcast.

Program playlist:

Wagner: Overture to The Flying Dutchman
Debussy: La mer
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)
Johann Strauss, Jr.: The Emperor Waltz (encore) 
Johann Strauss, Jr.: The Pleasure-Train Polka (encore)

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, Conductor

We asked listeners to share their thoughts during the broadcast using #CHLive. Here is a collection of those tweets and photos:

Comments [9]

Peter J Piaseckyj from Sunny Isles Beach, FL

Valery Gergiev is a supporter of that monster Putin.

Sep. 10 2016 08:08 AM
Eric S. from North Bethesda MD

I just wish he would repudiate Vladimir Putin - he has the stature to do so.

Sep. 09 2016 12:47 PM
Miles from Montclair, NJ

What can I say. The Emperor Waltz is probably my favorite Strauss waltz. This rendition by the Vienna and Gergiev was sublime. Worthy of my favorite recording of this waltz --- Fritz Reiner and the Chicago. Thank you WQXR! Can't wait to hear "The Pleasant Train Polka" for the final encore!

Sep. 06 2016 10:48 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Maestro VALERY GEORGIEV is tops in ebery venture he undertakes, not the least with the Vienna Philharmonic. My concern as a professional opera singer, a Wagnerian heldentenor, is what kind of a future there is for clssical music in the USA. The commmercialists like the Italian BERNASCONI consider opera not commercially nvaluable. I have sung every genre of music except country music, hip hop and rap in in opoera houses, stadiums, indoor and outdoor, and nite clubs. On Sunday March 20th at 7 PM at the NEW LIFE EXPO at the NYC Pennsylvania Hotel at trhe Madison venue I will sing 19 selections with the title of the concert LOVE SONGS IN MOST OF THE FORMATS includin Wagner opera, Italian opera, Vienne4se operetta, Broadway musicals, pop, jazz, blues, folk and rock n' roll. My 5 websites on their home pages carry all the details and the complete program listing.,, Richard, and
37 selections out of the 100 that I have sung at the main hall , the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of Carnegie Hall, in 4 three hour long solo concerts can be downloaded, free at the Recorded Slections venue of each website.

Mar. 05 2016 01:53 PM

Will this be able to listen to on the site?

Feb. 27 2016 07:44 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

correction: The opening trumpet solo in "Promenade" is not muted.

Feb. 27 2016 06:55 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

To JN (and anyone else):The score of "La Mer" in the "Dawn..." movement does indeed call for 8 divided 'cellos in four-part harmony at their initial entrance two bars before rehearsal number 9, then 16 are called for, also in four-part harmony two bars later. Since I'm also an Internet listener, my hearing and scholarship aren't sufficient to say with finality that 16 were actually there!: that's one thing I'll also have to rely upon eye-witnesses to corroborate. I must also say that in the "Play..." movement, there's a passage for only 2 1st and 2nd violins, violas and 'cellos which were also played, I thought, with keen intonation and balance, much like the above 'cello reference. That's at 4 bars before Number 26, if you have the score. I thought "La Mer" was the most satisfying and idiomatic performance on the written program, which delighted and surprised me, since Erich Leinsdorf in his biography, "Cadenza", said that as a native of Vienna, while attending music schools there, there was no mention or courses of study at all of Debussy's music. How that's all changed! I thought the tempos, color and balance were spot on. Curiously and maddeningly, I found the Overture to "Der fligende Holla"ner" underpowered and the brass at mezzo-forte throughout rather than at fortissimo, as written, and as I'm sure James Levine and the Met Orchestra will reprise their altogether satisfying interpretation, come their performance of it, as they have in the past. This was my impression, though I was hearing the concert at full room volume through components. I kept saying to myself "louder"! In "Pictures at an Exhibition", I heard some fussiness in interpretation: the last four notes of "Samuel Goldenberg..." were just too attenuated for my taste. All the solos, however, were excellent: the muted trumpet solo in "Samuel...", the tuba in "Bydlo" as well as in "The Hut of Baba Yaga", the alto saxophone solo with vibrato as called for in "The Old Castle". The brass really shone in "Catacombs..." and in "The Great Gate of Kiev" as expected, though. Still, my preference is such that I would have liked to hear even more of the percussion section in "The Great Gate"; likewise, I could be the only one who likes to hear the opening solo trumpet in "Promenade" played with vibrato, `a la the late Mr. Harry Glantz, though that isn't specified in the score at all. The encores were "echt" Vienna Philharmonic and "echt" J. Strauss, Jr: there's just no question about it. "Kaiserwalzer" "The Emperor Waltz" and "Vernu"gungszug" "Fast-Train Polka", were beyond praise. By the way, anyone wanting to hear the "...Train" again can hear it and see the Vienna Philharmonic play it, since it's part of Carlos Kleiber's 1992 New Year's Eve concert available on audio and video; and Kleiber plays the whistle himself, not a percussionist, putting down his baton for his solo!

Feb. 27 2016 06:49 AM
JN from Oklahoma City

Since I can't see the stage on the internet I'm asking if there are 16 cellos on stage for La Mer. There's a section in the first movement that asks for 16 divided cellos.

When Abbado performed La Mer with the Berlin Philharmonic in the year or two before his death there were really 16 cellos on stage. You can see the video for yourself.

Feb. 26 2016 08:30 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

All who can't attend in person can listen to this concert with confidence and enjoyment. Recently arrived from Budapest, The Vienna Philharmonic, on a world tour, will also play two more programs at Carnegie Hall Saturday and Sunday with programs comprising the "Prelude to Khovantschina", Olga Neuwirth's "Clocks Without Hands" and excerpts from "Go"tterda"mmerung" with soprano Heidi Melton; and the "Prelude to Parsifal" and the "Manfred Symphony", respectively.

Feb. 26 2016 08:40 AM

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