Overview: On the Philharmonic, a Style of Vacation Bounty

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Thanksgiving got here a day early on the New York Philharmonic this yr: the energy, the juicy fats, the whipped cream, the enjoyable, the sense of limitless bounty. The orchestra’s program at David Geffen Corridor on Wednesday was an immersion in richness and in flashing, warming colours, and it left you want a very good vacation dinner does: a little bit dazed, even fortunately drowsy, stumbling towards the subway really full.

Performed by Stéphane Denève, the music director of the St. Louis Symphony, the live performance was très French — right down to the tender Rameau encore performed by the pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, who made his Philharmonic debut because the soloist in Ravel’s Concerto in G. (This system repeats on Friday and Saturday.)

On the heart of that concerto is a time-suspending Adagio. However in Ólafsson’s efficiency, the dreaminess — the slight blur, the delicacy — bled into the 2 outer actions, too. Some pianists lean on the factory-machine regularity, the brilliant lucidity, of these elements to hammer dwelling a distinction with the sluggish motion. However, as he additionally confirmed in a really completely different repertory at his Carnegie Corridor debut in February, Ólafsson resists vivid contrasts.

It’s not that his contact is diffuse; it’s as clear as marble. And it’s not that the tempos he and Denève selected for the framing actions have been slower than regular. However the impact Ólafsson obtained all through, of a type of virtuosic reticence, may very well be described in the identical phrases I used for his efficiency in February: a “silk of sound, inward-looking and wistful in each main and minor keys, in each andante and allegro.”

“Céléphaïs” (2017), a nine-minute part from Guillaume Connesson’s symphonic poem impressed by the fantastical writings of H.P. Lovecraft, opened the live performance with an extravagance that gives proof of the survival of the orchestrational panache of the French custom: its lurid lushness and sly squiggles, brassy explosions and sensual strings.

Connesson’s precursors in that custom obtained a listening to after intermission. The viewers even obtained a second serving to: The large, candy slice of cake that’s the Suite No. 2 drawn from Albert Roussel’s 1930 ballet “Bacchus et Ariane” was adopted by one other slice, the Suite No. 2 from one other mythological ballet of the early twentieth century, Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé.”

On paper this appeared like overindulgence; it type of was, however who doesn’t like their potatoes two methods each on occasion? And whereas there’s a familial similarity between these works, Roussel’s model is ever so barely extra angular, with an underlying feeling of logic distinct from Ravel’s billowy scene portray.

The Philharmonic performed nicely all through, using the various waves and swerves of depth and pigment, from dewy dawns to mellow dusks. There have been some notably notable contributions to the potluck: Ryan Roberts, only a few years into his tenure because the orchestra’s English hornist however already a pillar of the ensemble, matched Ólafsson’s eloquent introspection within the Ravel concerto’s sluggish motion.

The principal flute, Robert Langevin, unspooled his instrument’s traditional glistening solo in “Daphnis et Chloé” with conversational ease. Cynthia Phelps, the principal viola, had a russet-color flip within the Roussel, and Roger Nye, unusually seated within the first bassoon chair for that work, performed with honeyed serenity.

Not like at most Thanksgiving dinners, by the tip the fullness didn’t really feel like bloat. The clear, cool acoustics of the brand new Geffen Corridor work in opposition to textures getting too heavy; they favor breezy sleekness, which is ideal for Denève, whose music-making exudes rest with out dropping ahead movement. A few hours later, I might have been greater than able to eat — I imply hear — some extra.

New York Philharmonic

This program repeats by means of Saturday at David Geffen Corridor, Manhattan; nyphil.org.


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