Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Program at the New York Philharmonic



Andrey Boreyko, Conductor
Frank Peter Zimmerman, Violin

Mendelssohn - Overture to Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (Son and Stranger) (1829)
Shostakovich - Violin Concerto No. 1 (1945-48)
Dvořák - Symphony No. 9, From the New World (1893)

On Tuesday night I attended the New York Philharmonic's concert featuring works by Felix Mendelssohn, Dmitri Shostakovich and Antonin Dvořák.

At the age of 20, Mendelssohn composed his one act opera Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde for a private performance for friends and family. The overture remains its best known excerpt and features a sunny virtuosity that reflected the young composer's talents.

The Shostakovich concerto provided a stark change in mood. Its anxious melodic lines and disturbing rhythms probed the depths modern angst. The third and fourth movements contained  many dazzling passages for the soloist which Zimmerman met with ease.

The New York Philharmonic commissioned Dvořák to write his New World Symphony while he was the director of the New York Conservatory from 1892 to 1895. The composer incorporated American spirituals into the score and it was fitting to hear this expansive, optimistic piece as a prelude to Thanksgiving.

It was interesting to hear the Russian conductor Boreyko's interpretation of a Czech composer's impressions of American folk music. Boreyko imbued the performance with a lilting tenderness that somehow seemed fresh and very touching, and taken together with the two earlier pieces fully demonstrated his range as a conductor. I hope that the Philharmonic plans to invite him to lead many future performances.

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