December 6, 2021

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Evaluate: Schumann on the Philharmonic. Robert, Too.

Review: Schumann at the Philharmonic. Robert, Too.

Hasn’t the New York Philharmonic been by sufficient? Closed for a yr and a half by the pandemic, and exiled from its dwelling for renovations throughout its return season, the orchestra is now at the mercy of visa delays.

Attributable to backlogs and employees shortages at embassies and consulates all over the world, these delays are plaguing a classical subject that depends upon the simple journey of musicians from overseas. They stored the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes from coming right here this week to play; and if one cancellation wasn’t sufficient, the deliberate conductor, Jaap van Zweden, the Philharmonic’s music director, additionally withdrew, due to a household medical emergency.

However when the mud settled, this left an gratifying double debut with the orchestra on the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Heart on Thursday: the pianist Alessio Bax and the conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.

There was a quiet milestone in this system, which was retained with the brand new performers. Whereas Robert Schumann’s works are fixtures of the repertory, these of his spouse, Clara, an accomplished composer and one of many nice piano virtuosos of the nineteenth century, are decidedly not. So when Bax entered and commenced Clara Schumann’s temporary however eloquently wistful Romance in A minor, it was the primary time her music was being performed for a Philharmonic subscription viewers.

Its subdued ending led, with out pause, to the dramatic burst that begins one other work in A minor: Robert Schumann’s battle horse piano concerto. Bax, well known to New York audiences in chamber music over the previous decade, began with a tone of pristine Classicism that swiftly dissolved into washes of dreamier mistiness, with out ever dropping readability.

With the strings usually evocatively gauzy, wind solos slicing piquantly by the textures, he and Guerrero conveyed the work’s mercurial swerves of temper with out affectation or exaggeration. The lyrical effusions of the second motion have been answered with crisp changeability; the finale had a surreally martial undercurrent. The efficiency was suavely manic, correctly.

It was a progressive transfer, sure, to convey the Schumanns collectively. Subsequent it could be great to listen to Clara’s piano concerto — additionally, because it occurs, in A minor — from the Philharmonic; Isata Kanneh-Mason, amongst others, has recorded it to spectacular impact.

Critics usually valorize live performance packages that sprawl throughout time. However the Philharmonic did effectively to pair the Schumanns with their nice good friend Johannes Brahms for a tightly centered night of works written within the 1840s and ’50s. And never one in every of his continuously performed symphonies — the First involves the Philharmonic next month — however the second of his earlier, rarer pair of serenades.

Brahms wrote these works as he was nonetheless experimenting with composing for orchestra; revised within the mid-1870s, the rating of the 30-minute Serenade No. 2 lacks violins, for a melancholy tinge to the final geniality. Guerrero — the music director of the Nashville Symphony and a grinning presence with expressive fingers and a shiny swimsuit — led a subtly energetic efficiency, bringing out each the delicacy and the darkness within the third motion and the Schubertian wistfulness within the fourth.

Vivid but unexaggerated, similar to within the Schumann concerto, the taking part in had the intimate heat that the orchestra additionally delivered to Haydn’s “Oxford” Symphony in the identical house a few weeks ago. It speaks to how efficiently the Philharmonic is scaling right down to the 1,200-seat Rose Theater, and to 2 auspicious debuts.

New York Philharmonic

This program continues by Saturday on the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Heart, Manhattan; nyphil.org.

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