Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bach, Mozart, and Stravinsky at the Philharmonic

J.S. BACH Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 (1717-1723)
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish (1775)
STRAVINSKY Concerto in D major for String Orchestra (1946, revised 1961)
MOZART Symphony No. 39 (1788)

Last night the New York Philharmonic performed a program of Bach, Mozart, and Stravinsky with Pinchas Zukerman as the soloist and conductor.

Zukerman is an apollonian artist. His accounts of the Bach and Mozart concerti were very correct, tasteful, and patrician though he managed to avoid any dullness with his thoughtful phrasing and elegant, singing line.

The Stravinsky concerto did not have a solo part but it nevertheless sounded like a logical extension of Bach and Mozart. The strings played with uncommon sweetness (for Stravinsky anyway) and the piece as a whole brimmed with gentility. In context, Jerome Robbins' choreography in The Cage highlighted the same concerto's more sinister aspects but last night's reading was anything but that.

Mozart's Symphony No. 39 is the last of the composer's three great and final symphonic works. Zukerman drew a poignant account from the orchestra. The wind section was especially fine.

The season concludes with more Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 and the Mass in C Minor. I can't wait for that concert.

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