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Alan Gilbert Leads New York Philharmonic in Glorious 'Rite of Spring' Performance

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jan 15, 2016 08:51 PM EST

Hailed by critics as "wild and ingenious" when it first premiered, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring took the stage yesterday with Alan Gilbert leading the New York Philharmonic. Also on the program were works by the modern marvels Ottorino Respighi and Magnus Lindberg.

There's little that the New York Phil can do poorly, and in their 2016 kickoff, Gilbert led the Philharmonic in what certainly lived up to its anticipation for yet another staging of Rite of Spring.

In a review at the New York Times, James Oestreich wrote:

"The program closed with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," a blockbuster that Mr. Gilbert has made a specialty in recent years, with the Philharmonic and the Juilliard Orchestra. His affinity tells, and he conducted a white-hot performance here, with every yawp and shriek given its due. Judith LeClair, the principal bassoonist, was wonderful at the start and throughout, but this was a tour de force for the whole orchestra and Mr. Gilbert."

Also in the concert was chief violinist--and perhaps one of the greatest living string players of the day--Frank Peter Zimmerman. Zimmerman initially premiered Magnus Lindberg's Violin Concerto No. 2, a piece written for the violinist himself, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra last December.

As Oestreich remarks further, while the piano and organ were removed, the orchestra remained in tact for the performance of Mr. Lindberg's composition. While the work is played in three continuous movements, the piece is "big and attractive, deeply satisfying in its proportions and contours."

The concert, however, comes after the untimely death of German conductor Kurt Masur, former music director of the New York Phil, who passed away on Dec. 19. He was buried in Leipzig.

Masur spent 11 years heading the New York Phil and also led the London Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de France, among many other splendid engagements that have spanned three continents.

The final performance of Rite of Spring takes place tomorrow, Jan. 16 at 8 pm at David Geffen Hall. Be sure to reserve your tickets here.

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TagsNew York Philharmonic, Rite of Spring, Frank Peter Zimmerman, Ottorino Respighi, Magnus Lindberg, Kurt Masur