Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New York Philharmonic – Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor; Radu Lupu, piano. January 23, 2011.

Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Orchestra 1 (Seat W5, $65).

Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 83 (1858) by Brahms (1833-97).
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 (1889) by Dvorak (1841-1904).

We attended this concert together with the Yangs. We drove into New York early so we could go to the boat show at Jacob Javits Center, where we spent about 90 minutes. There were many more people than expected: perhaps to get in from the cold (we have had a long cold spell in the area) or – dare one hope – the economy is turning around? In any case, we didn’t hear the bell ring once to indicate a sale, although there were a few boats with a sign “sold” attached to it. We had a simple dinner at Ollie’s before the concert.

My expectations were quite high after last week’s concert. Brahms’ first piano concerto was written about 20 years before his second, and the two have a great contrast in style. Radu Lupu is also a well-known pianist. We have heard him a few times and enjoyed his performances very much.

Given the high expectations, we were a bit disappointed at the overall concert. In general things seemed to be sloppier, muddled at times. Our seats were not that far away from the ones we had last week, but the piano didn’t sound nearly as crisp as it did then. The Symphony was okay, but I certainly won’t call it a great performance.

The Yangs sat in the second row and they were telling us how much Lupu and von Dohnanyi seemed to communicate with one another. Lupu used a chair which I don’t recall his using in prior performances: back problem, maybe? Also, Glen Dicterow showed up for the Symphony; he didn’t play at all last week.

The New York Times review is positive, but not as effusive as the one for last week. Per the reviewer, Lupu uses a chair all the time.

No comments: