Thursday, July 28, 2011

NY Phil Plays Russian Composers

NY Phil gets a Standing “O” at Vail!
The New York Philharmonic took the stage again tonight in Vail to play some great Russian music. The show’s highlight was a performance of the overplayed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1, although tonight featured a nice interpretation by Kirill Gerstein, who avoided the bombastic nature of the first movement and instead focussed on the subtlety of the second and third movements, playing quite beautifully. He also played a nice encore of Russian-American George Gerwhin’s “Embraceable You.” (Gershwin’s Concerto in F had been commissioned for the NY Phil.)

Conductor Bramwell Tovey has grown on me. The first two appearances I saw at the Hollywood Bowl did not wow me, but he has been much better at the Vail festival. He conducted quite beautifully on Khatchaturian’s Waltz from Masquerade Suite, knowing when to step aside and let the orchestra lead. The Glazunov Concert Waltz #2 was also quite nice.

The program finale was Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. This was not a worthy finale for this concert, it might have been nicer to finish with the concerto. But that is a minor quibble. The thrill of hearing this orchestra in one of the most beautiful settings in the world makes it all worthwhile.
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