Bruch's concerto has long been one of my favorite works, but I don't think I'd heard it performed live until Friday evening. Zukerman was of course outstanding and Eschenbach kept the orchestra out of his way. Some of the tempi were a little slower than I like but that relaxed pace helped in the romantic second movement. Zukerman received a long ovation after the energetic finale. I've seen him perform once or twice before with the Philharmonic and I think I enjoyed this appearance more than the others. I'd heard him play some of Bach's "Brandenburg" concertos a few years ago but I think his tone is better suited to Bruch's work than Bach's.
After the intermission, Eschenbach led the orchestra through a powerful reading of Bruckner's Sixth Symphony. The horns in particular stood out, as their fanfares were wholly distinguishable from those of the trumpets and trombones. I enjoyed Principal Oboe Liang Wang's work in the Adagio movement, and the strings and winds were crisp and forceful in the scherzo. Eschenbach led with a moderate amount of movement on the podium, using his upper body and keeping his feet mostly in place on the podium. I left Avery Fisher Hall humming some of the brass fanfares from the piece, and they stuck with me over the weekend.
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