NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

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lennygoran
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NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:12 am

Kahane was in the Compuserve Music Forum for sometime. I guess this would be considered a good review even if it's also "it felt safe and predictable." I'll have to play this Sym 98-I just can't remember if I've ever heard it or not? Regards, Len

Review: A Nostalgia Trip at the New York Philharmonic

By ANTHONY TOMMASINI JAN. 5, 2018
Continue reading the main story


When accomplished performers bring years of dedication to classic works, it can feel ungrateful to ask for more. Yet I couldn’t help wanting more on Thursday evening, when the pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane led the New York Philharmonic in Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Haydn at David Geffen Hall. While the program was finely executed, it felt safe and predictable, a nostalgia trip to 18th-century Vienna, with a latter-day homage to that era by Tchaikovsky tossed in.

It was all excellently done. Though the dynamic cellist Alisa Weilerstein first played Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo” Variations with the Cleveland Orchestra over two decades ago, when she was 13, her performance here had engaging spontaneity and freedom. She brought plenty of grace to the piece’s evocations of rococo style. But during the virtuosic variations, especially the breathless coda, Ms. Weilerstein’s playing had incisive attack, manic energy, and, when called for, rough, bristling tone.


Mr. Kahane, who stepped down last year after 20 years leading the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, brought sprightly vitality and crisp articulation to Mozart’s Concerto No. 17 in G (K. 453), which he led from the keyboard. He conducted Haydn’s Symphony No. 98 in B flat from a fortepiano, while supplying (sparingly) a continuo backing of chords and occasional runs. This was a nod to its composer, who led the 1792 premiere in London from the fortepiano.

By now, concertgoers may assume that Haydn’s “London” Symphonies (the last 12 of his numbered 104) are all standard repertory works. Yet before Thursday performance of the Symphony No. 98, the Philharmonic had not played this remarkable masterpiece in over 17 years, when Colin Davis conducted it. For all its surface charms, this is an audacious, almost slyly radical work.


But this performance, though spirited, did not sufficiently bring out the music’s boldness for me. I’m not suggesting that Mr. Kahane and the players should have exaggerated for effect. But it’s hard to make the symphony’s originality stand out when you group it with one of Mozart’s most frequently-played concertos and a Tchaikovsky staple.

There are other programming options. During his early years at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen did a series of concerts pairing Haydn symphonies with works by another Hungarian giant, Ligeti. (Mr. Salonen brought this idea to New York in his Hungarian Echoes festival in 2011.) Simply by juxtaposing these composers, separated by two centuries, their shared qualities of stunning inventiveness and unbridled humor came through.




https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/arts ... ction&_r=0

John F
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by John F » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:49 am

"It was all excellently done." Definitely favorable, but the review is nonetheless rather faint praise. As for Tommasini wanting "more," he gives no idea of what more he wants. And he misses the point of conducting Haydn's Symphony #98 from the keyboard.

Haydn led that symphony from the keyboard, and wrote for himself a surprising solo in the last movement in duet with the first violin, Salomon, who had commissioned the symphony. In most modern performances this is just left out, but I'm sure one reason Jeff chose this particular symphony was so that he could surprise the unwary in the audience with it. The passage is at 8:12 in this clip, played on the harpsichord, though the conductor has the first violins play it and not just the concertmaster.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5SRyBjEK_M
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:04 am

John F wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:49 am
And he misses the point of conducting Haydn's Symphony #98 from the keyboard.
Thanks, I started listening to it and it sounds good and also unfamiliar to me-fortunately I have it and will listen to it on a cassette tonight while in the kitchen-the 97th is also on the tape-Dorati. Yeah I've neglected Haydn. :( Regards, Len

jbuck919
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:22 pm

For me, there are several things going on here. One is a reminder of a point made long ago by John F that everything written before 1830 or so has been co-opted by the HIP movement, and though they often turn out very fine performances, this is a shame for the repertory possibilities of standard modern orchestras. A second point is that I was unaware of that duet in the Haydn Symphony, which I suppose does not make me unusual, as Haydn is not thought of primarily for his keyboard artistry, when in fact he was very good if not Mozart. But more to the point, I did my junior paper in college on that symphony at the suggestion of my adviser, no less than Lewis Lockwood, and though I got a decent grade on it, the process taught me a great deal about my own limitations in finding more depth in masterpieces, something I should have learned before I lazily solicited and accepted said Lockwood's recommendation that got me into Yale. (Anything to put off starting a full-time mundane job, don't you know, and over the years I had such jobs I never came to regret the fact that I hated to one degree or another what I had to do to stay alive.) Now Lockwood was a profound scholar of everything he ever imparted to his students, and he surely knew this about that symphony, but never said anything to me, instead correcting me on more mundane matters like my writing style.

Incidentally, my senior thesis, also recommended by Lockwood, was on Beethoven's own arrangement for string quartet of his piano sonata Opus 14 No. 1. I last reviewed it just before moving from Maryland, and strangely enough, I was once capable of doing justice to such a topic, just as I was once capable of translating extensive passages from classical Latin. Didn't know I had it in me, did you? Well, at present, neither do I. :)


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

maestrob
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:25 pm

John:

Thanks for that. I didn't know that it existed until you posted it. I enjoyed it tremendously.

THEHORN
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by THEHORN » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:27 pm

Despite the HIP movement, mainstream orchestras do still perform music written before 1830 , and why not ? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this , and I for one actually find it refreshing to come back to the "wrong instruments ".
I'm not opposed to HIP performances and recordings at all, and have enjoyed some of them very much . But I do find the arrogance of certain leading HIP musicians and conductors very annoying . They talk as if THEY know how to do the music right, and others don't .

John F
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Re: NY Phil Review Safe and Predictable

Post by John F » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:40 pm

There's certainly nothing wrong with a symphony orchestra performing Bach and Haydn, but it's a fact that they do far less than they used to, and some conductors - Mehta was one - have said that it had a lot to do with the HIP movement's taking over the territory. Pianists and violinists still perform Mozart's concertos, but the Mozart symphonies are few and far between.
John Francis

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