Review: Two debuts make for a week of Philharmonic firsts

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Review: Two debuts make for a week of Philharmonic firsts
Members of the public watch the New York Philharmonic’s program, the first to be simulcast on David Geffen Hall’s 50-foot Hauser Digital Wall, in New York, Nov. 17, 2022. The Philharmonic began to simulcast concerts on the wall in its lobby. — Led by Hannu Lintu, they were some of the best this season. (Hilary Swift/The New York Times)

by Seth Colter Walls

NEW YORK, NY.- The New York Philharmonic is still rolling out the features of its new home, the freshly gut-renovated David Geffen Hall.

For its performances this week, the orchestra is deploying a 50-foot-wide media wall in its lobby, with the promise of regularly simulcasting concerts free to the public.

That’s a technological coup, to be sure, but the bigger news this week ought to be conductor Hannu Lintu’s Philharmonic debut. A Finn with a global audience, thanks to a discography stacked with recorded premieres of exciting works by composers including Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg, he steered the orchestra Wednesday through the most revealing and entertaining concert I’ve heard the ensemble deliver this season.

It helps that the program, which runs through Saturday, is compelling and unusual. Stravinsky’s tangy Symphonies of Wind Instruments pairs well with the playful strangeness of Bartok’s rarely heard Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, which featured star pianist Daniil Trifonov and his former teacher Sergei Babayan. The all-Finnish second half — of Saariaho’s “Ciel d’Hiver” and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7 — sits squarely in Lintu’s wheelhouse.

This is the kind of both broadly accessible and aesthetically rich program that we need to see more often. The same goes for Lintu’s presence at the podium. It’s fortunate that this is the week in which the Philharmonic debuts its bank of high-definition monitors — known as the Hauser Digital Wall — in the lobby.

When the wall is activated, anyone can walk into the Geffen lobby and claim a spot in front of it — no reservation or payment required. You can sit on the floor, or on a nearby couch, chair or stool, and take in the show. (That’s what I did Thursday night, after seeing the concert in the auditorium Wednesday.)

The speaker sound in the lobby is nowhere near equal to the acoustic experience in the hall. In front of the wall, there was also ambient noise, like the jangling key chains of roving police patrolling the area, sometimes with canine partners. (Sit close to the screen to cut down on that.)

Think of the lobby simulcast as an Amtrak quiet car: You know you’re never going to get total silence. But after a harried shift at work, dropping by could offer a glancing, much-appreciated bit of culture, with no planning or expense necessary. (The lobby’s concession stand was also open Thursday, at least during the first half of the show.)

The hope is that the lobby’s offerings will tempt those who are classical-curious into investing in tickets for the auditorium experience.

And Lintu’s appearance is well worth the price.

His experience with steely yet lush Finnish contemporary music has prepared him to lead the Philharmonic while it is still refining its approach to this hall’s clear, if slightly clinical, sound. On Wednesday, the adjustment seemed to remain a work in progress — some overly acidic collisions of treble tones appeared in the Stravinsky, for example — but there was also much that proved electrifying under Lintu’s baton.

The first movement of the Bartok concerto — which has its roots in a chamber version for pianists and percussionists — builds from a murmuring, mystic opening to riotous ensemble play. But Lintu ensured that the dramatic transitions did not come across as jagged.

In the first movement, subtle, rolling bass frequencies in the percussion bloomed and seemed to organically inspire intense pianistic volleys between Trifonov and Babayan. And the concerto’s string parts — which come across as extraneous in some readings — sounded fully integrated here, whether in moments of plucked frenzy in the second movement or in swooning melodic accompaniment in the third. If Babayan’s recourse to romantic rubato occasionally threatened to tarry behind Lintu’s beat, Trifonov was there to keep things on course.

After intermission (and a two-piano Mozart encore from Trifonov and Babayan), Lintu stirred the principal clarinetist, Anthony McGill, into some gently pressurized yet still warmly voiced figures in “Ciel d’Hiver.” And Sibelius’ final symphony — officially a single, transporting 20-minute movement — unfurled with a majesty that required no special pleading (or the orchestral blaring of recent Philharmonic performances).

Before the Thursday concert’s second half, McGill dropped by the lobby and appreciated some of the Bartok concerto before suiting up to get onstage. We exchanged some positive impressions about the multimedia presentation. But I also took the opportunity to share my opinion that Lintu might be the week’s real highlight.

McGill praised the conductor, and when I said that I hoped Lintu would return, he added, “I hope so, too.” For now, this week is your chance to hear him lead the Philharmonic, from in the hall or in the lobby: You choose.

New York Philharmonic

This program repeats Saturday at David Geffen Hall, Manhattan;

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

November 20, 2022

How Drake's $100 million bet saved the long-lost art carnival Luna Luna

Pierre et Gilles open an exhibition at Galerie Templon

Jakob, Franz and Rudolf von Alt on view through January at the Albertina Museum in Vienna

Brooklin A. Somahoro presents "Supernova" solo exhibition at Rodolphe Janssen

Contemporary Week at Dorotheum featuring modern and contemporary art, jewellery and wristwatches

Powerhouse takes international leadership position to achieve net zero by 2025

'Art De L'Avant-Garde A Nos Jours: 1918-2021' at Bonhams Cornette De Saint Cyr, Paris

Sullivan+Strumpf open solo exhibition from acclaimed First Nations contemporary artist Tony Albert

Gagosian opens an exhibition of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Hong Kong

Barbati Gallery presents a new exhibition program showcasing the Venice art scene

Staughton Lynd, historian and activist turned labor lawyer, dies at 92

High Museum of Art opens exhibition of work by Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Notable collections achieve top results at Bonhams Fine Art Sales in New York

Ned Rorem, composer known for both his music and his diaries, dies at 99

Wide-ranging selection of works by Alekos Fassianos leads Bonhams Greek sale in Paris

Keith Levene, Public Image Ltd.'s buzz-saw guitarist, dies at 65

nara roesler new york opens an exhibition of works by Artur Lescher

Review: Two debuts make for a week of Philharmonic firsts

The case for a less-effective altruism

Tina Kim Gallery opens its first exhibition dedicated to Minoru Niizuma

Laurel Gitlen opens the first New York solo exhibition of paintings by You Ni Chae

Stunning selection of American and English Silver brings more than $1.8 million at Heritage Auctions

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful