Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

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lennygoran
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Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 11, 2017 9:32 am

This review caught my eye--for example this: "his full plate may be related to a lack of clarity in artistic thinking"

Review: Can a Busy Yannick Nézet-Séguin Do It All?

By ANTHONY TOMMASINI MAY 10, 2017


How is it going to work, come 2020, when Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the full-time music director of the Metropolitan Opera while retaining the directorship of the Philadelphia Orchestra?

This 42-year-old dynamo has energy to spare. Last Wednesday, he conducted a demanding program, including symphonies by Bernstein and Schumann, with the Philadelphia Orchestra in its home hall. The next day he was at the Met for Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman.” On Friday and Saturday, it was back to Philadelphia to repeat that subscription program. On Sunday, he returned to New York to take part in a gala at the Met. Monday? Another “Dutchman.” Then on Tuesday, he joined the players of the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall for one last crack at that symphonic program.

That’s not all. This weekend he returns to his other ensemble, the Orchestre Métropolitain of Montreal, for more concerts.

His busy recent performance schedule is a little concerning — not because he can’t handle it physically, but because his full plate may be related to a lack of clarity in artistic thinking.
Photo
The mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Tuesday night. Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

His “Dutchman” at the Met was exciting, as was the bold, intense playing he drew from the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie. Yet, as with many of Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s programs with his Philadelphia ensemble, it was hard to find an overall theme in this one, which offered Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony and Schumann’s Second, with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor in the middle. A program note suggested that all three works were deeply personal statements by composers spanning three centuries. But aren’t most great pieces deeply personal statements? If Mr. Nézet-Séguin saw musical links among these scores, that did not come through.


But he led an impassioned account of the “Jeremiah,” Bernstein’s first symphony, a 25-minute, three-movement work completed in 1942, when its composer was 24. In the first movement, “Prophecy,” you hear a brilliantly gifted composer under the thrall of Copland, Piston and other 20th-century American symphonists. But in capturing the melancholic desperation of a prophet’s pleas to his people, Bernstein summons his own young, brash voice. This heaving, surging music alternates dissonance-saturated blasts with sinewy, aching string lines. “Profanation,” the second movement, is like a turbulent, dark scherzo, driven by rhythms out of Bartok and Stravinsky, alive with jazzy fervor. The final “Lamentation” is an anguished setting of a Hebrew text from the Book of Lamentations, here sung plaintively by the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

The distinguished pianist Radu Lupu was the soloist for a curiously wan performance of the Mozart concerto. Mr. Lupu, 71, has long been admired for the musical integrity and spiritual dimension of his artistry. But his playing here was refined and intimate to a fault. Sometimes, in bringing a milky gloss to passagework, the results just sounded smudgy. While he rendered various lyrical turns and harmonic shifts eloquently, he backed away from stormy, dramatic episodes.

After intermission, Mr. Nézet-Séguin led a remarkable performance of Schumann’s Second Symphony — lithe and fleet, crackling and crisp. He and his inspired players have clearly established a great working relationship

But now what? On Thursday Mr. Nézet-Séguin will be with his ensemble in Montreal to begin three performances of a program including Bruckner’s First Symphony; except on Friday night, that is, when he dashes back to the Met for the final “Dutchman.”

Can he keep this pace up? Maybe. Should we want him to? I’m not so sure.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/arts ... ctionfront

John F
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Re: Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

Post by John F » Thu May 11, 2017 10:11 am

You're slipping, Lenny:
His busy recent performance schedule is a little concerning — not because he can’t handle it physically, but because his full plate may be related to a lack of clarity in artistic thinking.
Photo
The mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Tuesday night. Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
It's not clear to me what Tommasini's problem is. If one of Nezet-Seguin's orchestral program lacked what Tommasini calls an "overall theme," if there were no "musical links among the scores," so what? That's true of most programs, and there's nothing particularly eccentric about this one.

Even if Nezet-Seguin conducts every night of the week, alternating between two contrasting programs, that's not so uncommon nowadays; James Levine conducted over 90 opera performances a season in the '80s, several a week including sometimes on Saturdays different operas in the afternoon and the evening. What counts is the quality of the performances, not the quantity, and Tommasini finds fault only with a concerto performance because of the soloist, praising the others very highly. He should be grateful, rather than complaining when there's really nothing to complain about.

For some really eccentric programming, New York has seen nothing like what Dimitri Mitropoulos used to conduct at the New York Philharmonic. I've just been listening to a 1957 broadcast consisting of a little-known Mozart divertimento, the premiere of Morton Gould's Jekyll and Hyde Variations, Goldmark's forgotten violin concerto with Nathan Milstein, and Zandonai's orchestral intermezzo from his opera "Giulietta e Romeo." Ten years earlier he conducted the American premiere of Mahler's 6th symphony before intermission and Gershwin's piano concerto with Oscar Levant after it. In comparison, Nezet-Seguin's Philadelphia Orchestra program makes perfect sense. :D
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 11, 2017 11:49 am

John F wrote:
Thu May 11, 2017 10:11 am
You're slipping, Lenny:It's not clear to me what Tommasini's problem is. If one of Nezet-Seguin's orchestral program lacked what Tommasini calls an "overall theme," if there were no "musical links among the scores," so what? That's true of most programs, and there's nothing particularly eccentric about this one.
On the editing yeah I missed one :( -in a hurry to get outside-our treeman his here beautifying our garden! :D On Tommasini's concern I didn't think it was such a big deal-glad you confirmed that for me. Regards, Len

maestrob
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Re: Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

Post by maestrob » Thu May 11, 2017 12:29 pm

Nezet-Seguin has energy to spare, and I agree with JohnF that as long as the quality of what he's doing holds up, who cares? It's a win/win for all those who go to his events and enjoy them, as Tommasini obviously did.

IMHO, Yannick Nezet-Seguin is an energetic, fascinating figure, whose talent succeeds both in opera and in symphonic music. That's a rare animal, and we should cherish him. Commuting from Philadelphia to NY takes barely 1 1/2 to 2 hours by car or train: maybe he'll eventually want to give up his Canadian orchestra as he becomes more deeply involved at the MET and in Philadelphia.

I recently acquired his recording of Mahler I. Haven't heard it yet: will review later, but I'm really looking forward to hearing it.

John F
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Re: Tommasini Questions If We Want Yannick Nézet-Séguin To Do It All

Post by John F » Thu May 11, 2017 2:01 pm

The year before his appointment at the Met was announced, Nezet-Seguin's contract with his Montreal orchestra was extended to the 2020-1 season. That's also his first full season as the Met's music director, so it's sure to be his last in Montreal except perhaps as a guest.
John Francis

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