Friday, June 03, 2011

A few quick thoughts about Thursday night at the Philharmonic

It's not a proper New York Philharmonic season for me if I don't see Anne-Sophie Mutter perform.  Her reading of Beethoven's Romance in F was lyrical and sweet.  Sebastian Currier's Time Machines, a concerto he composed for Ms. Mutter, was an unusual seven-movement work with touches of Barber, Glass, and Reich in places.  I especially enjoyed the fifth movement, titled "entropic time," in which the themes and cohesion of the music gradually disintegrated into snippets of phrases and random echoes from different instruments of the orchestra.

Bruckner's Symphony No. 2 was well-played throughout but it was the third movement that drew me into the work.  Alan Gilbert led a ferocious reading of the Scherzo that had me on the edge of my seat.  The fury of the strings combined with blasts from the brass and loud bursts from the timpani energized the orchestra and carried over to the finale.  It had been 40 years since the Philharmonic last performed this symphony.  In the program notes Gilbert states that Bruckner is a composer whose music he could conduct every day for the rest of his life.  I hope that means more Bruckner on Philharmonic programs in the future.

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