Van Zweden Conducts Beethoven; Hilary Hahn Plays Korngold

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hilary Hahn. Hilary Hahn. (Michael Patrick O'Leary)

Tune in Thursday at 9 pm to hear the New York Philharmonic's incoming music director, Jaap van Zweden, lead the orchestra in Beethoven's magnificent Symphony No. 7. But first, you'll hear Johann Wagenaar's Cyrano de Bergerac Overture and violinist Hilary Hahn take on the virtuosic Korngold Violin Concerto, which was premiered by none other than Jascha Heifetz.

Alec Baldwin is your host.


Wagenaar: Cyrano de Bergerac Overture

Korngold:  Violin Concerto
Soloist: Hilary Hahn, violin

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Jaap van Zweden, conductor

Comments [2]

Les from Miami, Florida

Correction: The reference to "arco" rather than "pizzicato" is with regard to the second movement. The sentence placement was wrong since it looks like it refers incorrectly to the third movement.

Aug. 21 2016 03:56 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I fully enjoyed the Korngold concerto with no equivocations regarding the soloist or orchestral accompaniment. The work, dedicated to Alma Mahler, is a full-flowering of Romanticism, its chromatic and polymetric main material notwithstanding. One is always surprised by Korngold's harmonic adventures and even more so by his resolutions. The movements are labeled Moderato nobile, Romance, and Allegro assai vivace. The present performance fondly recalled this listener's first hearing by way of the Jascha Heifetz recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Alfred Wallenstein for RCA Victor. Despite Wagenaar's thorough knowledge of orchestral part-writing and a gift for orchestration, the Cyrano de Bergerac overture's principal materials held no interest for me. The Beethoven Seventh Symphony's performance was the most troubling work on the program. The insistence on seating the violins together militates against the plasticity of the writing --- it sounded so treble-heavy on the left and bass-heavy on the right --- and the antiphonal identical first and second violin figurations (but not the notes themselves) in the last movement thus weren't realized. The beginning of the second movement suffered greatly from arbitrary crescendi and diminuendi in the violas, 'cellos and contrabasses that distracted from the rhetoric and called attention to themselves. This was the conductor's wilfullness rampant. I confess to enjoyment of the movement played as an adagio by way of contrast, though clearly Beethoven's tempo indication --- that Erich and Carlos Kleiber's interpretations adhere to vigorously --- wasn't really too fast or too slow. The third movement adhered to the 132 to the dotted half note indicated, but by my lights, thus played rendered it a study in perpetual motion, save for the Trio "assai meno presto" that was carefully realized. I enjoyed hearing the first and second violins play the E G sharp and A beginning four bars from the end of the movement. My score and all performances I've ever heard play it that way (it's written "arco" "with the bow", but Erich and Carlos Kleiber asked for those notes to be played pizzicato.I was also crestfallen that all of the movements' repeats were taken. I'm one who feels strongly that they're redundancies, especially with a master of form, inevitability and forward motion like Beethoven.

Aug. 21 2016 03:48 PM

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