|Concertmaster Kevin Chen and Maestro Gianandrea Noseda|
It's some state of affairs when the Juilliard Orchestra sounds much better than the New York Philharmonic! We don't know why but perhaps it has something to do with youthful enthusiasm and dedication pitted against middle-aged boredom. Perhaps it has something to do with the students being exposed to different conductors and learning from each.
In any event, the young instrumentalists gave Maestro Gianandrea Noseda exactly what he asked for. And ask he did! Among so many varied styles of conducting, we give Maestro Noseda the Terpsichorean Prize. He uses his entire body and uses it dramatically to elicit the passion that he wants from his players.
Last night's program at Alice Tully Hall opened with Sinfonia, the overture to a 1932 opera entitled La donna serpente; we have never heard this opera and probably never will but we were happy to hear the overture. It's a vigorous work that opened with a strong initial attack. There was a sprightly theme in the brass and another theme introduced by the woodwinds. Percussion was there for emphasis and the entire work involved an interesting harmonic language. Our companion heard echoes of Stravinsky.
Second on the program was the expansive 1909 Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor by Rachmaninoff, known as "Rach 3". The orchestra played well but the work never quite came together as the piano soloist Colton Peltier seemed to be rushing through the highly challenging piano part, not giving the work a chance to breathe. The romantic sweep somehow got lost.
The final work on the program was Schumann's 1845 Symphony No. 2 in C major, an idiosyncratic work that provided much aural delight. We were particularly fond of the Scherzo in which we heard echoes of Mendelssohn and several changes of mood that reminded us of the concept of following an aria with a cabaletta.
Most affecting was the third movement, an Adagio filled with lyricism and sorrow. There were horn calls throughout the work which lent unity. The final movement was forceful and a contrast with the Adagio.
(c) meche kroop