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David Geffen Corridor is the star as Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United States Debussy, Caroline Shaw, Florence Value: Roomful of Tooth (vocal ensemble), New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden (conductor), David Geffen Corridor, New York Metropolis, 23.10.2022. (SRT)

Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic © Chris Lee

Debussy – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Caroline Shaw – Microfictions (US premiere)
Florence Value – Symphony No.4 in D minor

Effectively, it’s official. After sixty years of false begins, pissed off hopes and architectural missteps, the New York Philharmonic lastly has a everlasting house in Manhattan that’s worthy of them. This isn’t the place to retell the story of the ups and downs of their Lincoln Middle house: simply let me lower a protracted story quick by saying that the rebuild of their David Geffen Corridor is a triumph.

The keynote of the brand new corridor is readability. You’ll be able to hear every little thing within the sound, with a presence and focus that’s the hallmark of many new halls, however which right here sounds notably centered. Listening to Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune on this setting made it sound like a distinct piece of music. Performed with conscientious magnificence by the NY Phil, Debussy’s rating remained mushy however under no circumstances languid. The winds and horns glowed gently, however the shimmer on the strings felt so current it was as for those who might hear each individually articulated word, not simply the diaphanous curtain of sound that it usually appears. You’ll be able to resolve for your self whether or not that forensic precision fits a chunk just like the Prélude, however there was no query that it suited their encore, one in all Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances that sounded so recent and clear that each crash, twinkle and swoosh was as vivid as a button.

It says one thing concerning the NY Phil that they haven’t chosen to open the David Geffen with European repertoire staples, although a Beethoven 9 is coming quickly. As a substitute, the main target of their opening concert events has been on American composers, largely newly written music that the orchestra has commissioned. Caroline Shaw’s Microfictions, for instance, is a part of a venture to commemorate the centenary of ladies gaining the precise to vote within the USA. Shaw’s music, written for the orchestra and the eight singers of her personal sharply named group Roomful of Tooth, was impressed by a collection of miniature tales put out on Twitter through the pandemic, therefore the title. It’s a suite of 5 items, every of which is a miniature tone poem, and so they work very properly as a set starting from the mild opening to the pounding power of the conclusion. Shaw’s music for the orchestra is tonal, persuasive and really efficient, whereas her writing for the vocal ensemble ranges from consonant sweetness to unmusical vocalisations. Both manner, the pairing works very properly, and sounded nice on this area, although it’s laborious to understand how far the corridor flatters it with its state-of-the-art amplification system for the voices.

Thanks primarily to the nice workplaces (and recording contract) of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the music of Florence Value is a lot better identified now than it was even simply a few years again. I’ve by no means fairly been on board with the approval given to her Symphony No.3, however I discovered this efficiency of Symphony No.4 immediately interesting. There’s a beautiful sunniness to the sound, with an virtually cinematic sweep to the primary motion’s fundamental theme that has a John Williams-ish pleasure in a easy tune and directness of method. The symphony’s gradual motion mirrors the contours of the Largo from Dvořák’s New World so exactly that it appears like a homage and, as within the Third Symphony, Value features a foot-tapping Juba dance because the third motion. Music Director Jaap van Zweden paid the piece the praise of taking it severely, and the brilliant sheen of the sound gave it a sure sense of movie-star glamour that helped the sound enormously.

David Geffen Corridor © Lincoln Middle

By the tip of the night, nevertheless, I used to be starting to surprise if the brand new auditorium might make nearly something sound good. Make no mistake: the corridor is the star right here. The orchestra and its staff appear lastly to have cured the jinx by constructing a corridor that feels relaxed and sounds nice, with readability and precision throughout each frequency. New Yorkers ought to be fairly happy with what they’ve on their palms.

Simon Thompson

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