Jaap van Zweden conducts NY Phil

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John F
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Jaap van Zweden conducts NY Phil

Post by John F » Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:27 am

His one concert here this season. A couple of Tommasini's adjectives, "brawny" and "overaggressive," are not qualities I want to hear in most of the music I care about, but then I don't go to concerts for the standard Tchaikovsky symphonies any more. He says van Zweden's first season as music director is "definitely something to look forward to." We have no choice but to look forward; I just hope Zweden doesn't make us want to look backward.

New York Philharmonic’s Next Leader Gives a Taste of Things to Come
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
NOV. 18, 2016

Great anticipation hovered over Thursday evening’s New York Philharmonic concert at David Geffen Hall. It was the first program to be led by the Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden since the announcement in January that he would succeed Alan Gilbert as music director.

As the music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and in earlier appearances with the Philharmonic, Mr. van Zweden, 55, has developed a reputation for giving exacting and feisty performances. Not surprisingly, those qualities bristled throughout the brawny, intense account he led of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. At times, especially during his hard-driving reading of the finale, Mr. van Zweden pushed the symphony to unpleasant extremes of tempo and sound. Yet it was certainly exciting.

He has never been known as a new-music champion. But an encouraging sign of how he might approach his directorship, which begins in the 2018-19 season, came before intermission, when he conducted the New York premiere of Julia Adolphe’s “Unearth, Release,” a viola concerto commissioned by the Philharmonic and the League of American Orchestras. The soloist was Cynthia Phelps, the Philharmonic’s impressive principal violist, who played the world premiere of the concerto this summer in North Carolina. (The score performed on Thursday is a revised version.)

Two years ago, as part of the first NY Phil Biennial of new music, Mr. Gilbert conducted the premiere of Ms. Adolphe’s “Dark Sand, Sifting Light,” a short, mercurial and alluring piece. A New York native, Ms. Adolphe, 28, takes an unconventional approach to the concerto genre in “Unearth, Release.” As she writes in a composer’s note, the relationship between the viola and the orchestra “transforms” over this 19-minute work’s three movements.

In the first section, “Captive Voices,” the orchestra plays a subdued mass of hazy harmonies and fidgety lines. Pitches fuse into pungent cluster chords. The ambiguous overall mood is at once inviting and ominous. The viola keeps escaping from this orchestral stew, but not by fighting it. Instead, the viola simply emerges, with emphatic motifs alternating with flutters of notes. In reaction, the orchestra does not exactly roll over; rather, it seems to grow intrigued by the soloist.

The second movement, “Surface Tension,” is more overtly combative, though often in a playful way. The viola and orchestra trade bursts of perpetual-motion riffs and phrases, in music percolating with sputtering rhythms and skittish lines. In a bold choice, Ms. Adolphe ends the concerto with a slow, pensive final movement, “Embracing Mist.” During long, dreamy stretches, the viola floats mystical lines above the tremulous, shimmering orchestra.

Ms. Phelps conveyed the emotional nuances and mood shifts of the music in a commanding and plush-toned performance. Mr. van Zweden drew sensitive, confident and colorful playing from the Philharmonic.

The program opened with a radiant account of Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of “Lohengrin.” After intermission, Mr. van Zweden turned to the Tchaikovsky Fourth, and from the start, he seemed determined to bring virile energy to this staple. The Andante introduction to the first movement, in which the ominous theme of fate is pronounced in brassy flourishes, was incisive and ferocious — rigidly so. Mr. van Zweden was more impressive during the main section of the movement, when he drew out the shifting strands of the music with striking clarity and a clear sense of direction.

He balanced poignancy and gravity in his rich-textured account of the slow movement. The playing Mr. van Zweden drew from the orchestra during the Scherzo, especially the pizzicato strings, was so crisp and precise that it lent an interesting element of tension to seemingly cheerful music. He lost me, though, in his overaggressive account of the finale. Tchaikovsky described this movement as a “picture of festive merriment of the people.” This performance was more frenzied than festive.

In a ceremony onstage before the concert began, Matthew VanBesien, the Philharmonic’s president, presented the orchestra’s generous Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music to the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Andriessen promised to write a “beautiful piece” for Mr. van Zweden’s first season as music director. That’s definitely something to look forward to.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/arts/ ... -come.html
John Francis

John F
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Re: Jaap van Zweden conducts NY Phil

Post by John F » Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:31 am

An Extra Layer of Dutch for New York Philharmonic
By MICHAEL COOPER
NOV. 17, 2016

The New York Philharmonic will offer its audiences a taste of new Amsterdam when the Dutch maestro Jaap van Zweden becomes its music director in the 2018-19 season. The orchestra announced Thursday that it was awarding the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, one of the world’s richest contemporary music prizes, to the influential Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. The award comes with $200,000 and a commission to write a new work for the Philharmonic, which Mr. van Zweden will conduct during his inaugural season.

It will be the first time the Philharmonic has played Mr. Andriessen’s music in more than three decades: In 1986, the orchestra gave the New York premiere of one of his masterpieces, “De Staat,” under the baton of Gunther Schuller. But Mr. Andriessen’s work has been championed in New York in recent years, including at Carnegie Hall, where he held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair in the 2009-10 season, and the Park Avenue Armory, which staged his “De Materie” earlier this year — with a cast that included 100 sheep.

Mr. Andriessen, 77, who comes from a family of composers, said in a statement that he was put in mind of something that his father, Hendrik Andriessen, used to say: “We are not important; the music is important, and we have the duty to write as well as we can.” “It is in this spirit,” he said, “that I will write for the New York Philharmonic.”

The prize was announced on Thursday evening at David Geffen Hall, where Mr. van Zweden was conducting a program of works by Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Julia Adolphe (the premiere of her viola concerto “Unearth, Release”). Mr. Andriessen will be the third recipient of the prize. It was first awarded in 2011 to Henri Dutilleux, who shared the proceeds with three composers: Anthony Cheung, Franck Krawczyk and Peter Eotvos. In 2014, the winner was Per Norgard.

Mr. van Zweden, who has recorded works by Hendrik Andriessen, said that he suggested Mr. Andriessen for the Kravis Prize in part because of his influence on younger generations of composers. Mr. van Zweden said that he was particularly taken with a performance of Mr. Andriessen’s “Mysterien” that he heard played by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and that soon after he was named music director he reached out to him to see if he would consider writing more symphonic works. “I thought, would it not be fantastic if he could be interested to write one of the pieces for my opening weeks in ‘18-19 for the Philharmonic and me?” Mr. van Zweden said in an interview.

The decision was made by a selection committee that also included Alan Gilbert, who is in his final season as the Philharmonic’s music director; Esa-Pekka Salonen, its composer-in-residence; and several others.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/arts/ ... prize.html
John Francis

david johnson
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Re: Jaap van Zweden conducts NY Phil

Post by david johnson » Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:46 am

Nobody has ever said I possessed balanced poignancy and gravity :(

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