Ives, Adams, Britten, and Vaughn-Williams. The Britten Sinfonia da Requiem and the Vaughn Williams Symphony No. 4 were especially effective. The playing was not only on an amazingly high technical level, but also was genuinely passionate. Musicians actually moving in their seats–maybe not as much as I hear the Berlin Philharmonic does, but still quite something. This was the sort of concert you could drag your college-age kid to and he or she would be glad you did. (So I wish I’d dragged mine.)
I’d arrived at the concert tired, thinking I might leave at intermission. By then, I’d been so energized by the Britten performance, which concluded the first half, that there was no way I was going to miss the Vaughn Williams. This was classical music-making at its best. And the prolonged standing ovation, which went on seemingly forever, wasn’t fueled just by the home-town fans happy to be in NY. This was the real thing, a celebration of a genuinely extraordinary shared experience.
Everyone I spoke to after was raving about it. A publicist friend and I ran met another music writer on 57th Street after the concert. He was blown away (although he put it in a much more dignified way). With perhaps a touch of old-school east-coast snobbery, he was in a state of delighted shock. “If the Monteral Symphony on Saturday measures up to even half of what this group did tonight, I’ll be delighted.”
Many congratulations to music director Carlos Kalmar, the members of the magnificent orchestra (including fellow blogger Charles Noble), and to all who support this fine organization. People should leave a concert on a more-alive-then-when-they-got-there high. An overwhelming number of us did. I’m so glad I went!