Monday, October 18, 2010

New York Philharmonic's Night With Brahms

This last Saturday was a night full of fall colors and winds. Lincoln Center was alive with people dancing in the courtyard to a free concert that ended just in time for all to find their seats at the Opera or Symphony. The New York Philharmonic, lead by Conductor Alan Gilbert, had a full evening of Romanticism. Starting this concert with Passacaglia, op. 1 from one of Schoenberg's pupils Anton Webern. This was Anton's last piece completed while working with Schoenberg. This Passacaglia uses the basic late-romantic complements of instruments of a standard orchestra. This "passacaglia melody" is made up of eight-measure phrases that repeat through the piece in one way or another. This passacaglia theme is also heard in Brahms 4Th Symphony that rounds out the evening. Then Pinchas Zukerman a world-renowned violinist that studied in the 60's at the Juilliard School came out on stage to play Brahms Concerto in D major for the Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77. This was Brahms first Violin Concerto. He had the pleasure of working with the top Violin around in the 1850's Joseph Joachim. Who helped his good friend with this composition. On this night in October 2010 Pinchas Zukerman chose to play Joachim's Cadenza, the over-embellishment that Joachim played when performing this concerto. After a standing ovation and a small violin encore of one of Brahms lullaby's there was a intermission before the main event. The Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, was Brahms last Symphony and is considered one of the masters best works. In 1872 Brahms Said he would never write a symphony. He went on to finish 4 very different pieces in this medium. The forth shows opposing emotions. This is a bittersweet piece that evokes many different feelings. With a intense first movement and a second that seems serene. Then the third seems to build and fall to build again and leave you ready for the finale movement where we see the passacaglia. This symphony takes forms of a romantic love affair that is striking, then easy, then faltering to end in a over emotional build up of unconditional love and discontent. This is what romance is and always will be.

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