New York Philharmonic: What's New: Latest News and Stories About The New York Philharmonic
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Alan Gilbert One of Minn. Public Radio's Conducting 'Morning Glories'

Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic 

On Monday, Music Director Alan Gilbert led off Minnesota Public Radio's Morning Glories: Five Young Conductors series.

Travelling the world, leading ensembles small and large, and embracing music of every stripe, these five young conductors represent a new generation in classical music. They're some of the most visible leaders in the classical world today, and their international prominence is helping secure the future of classical music in many different ways.

This week, we'll hear five enormous pieces to celebrate the colossal talent and potential of these titans.

The piece they picked was Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments, the recording of which was heralded by The New York Times as one of the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012.

"As the child of two New York Philharmonic musicians," Jennifer Anderson wrote,

Alan Gilbert grew up hanging around the orchestra. Now, he's leading that ensemble, and they're making sure that the kids of New York have nearly as much exposure to music as he did, performing concerts for children as young as 3. At the same time, Gilbert remains strongly committed to challenging and engaging concertgoers of all ages through a robust adult education series and vibrant new music commissioning program.

Finally, here's a tweet from Classical MPR D.J. Alison Young with an observation that hadn't occurred to us. Do you agree with her? Click the photo and tweet a reply!

Alan Gilbert Receives Acclaim from Critics for Nielsen Concerts

Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic 

In his review of Wednesday evening's concert, The New York Times' Steve Smith praised Music Director Alan Gilbert's "assertive account" of Nielsen's Symphony No. 1. He added:

If the First Symphony was impressive, the Fourth was exhilarating, even breathtaking. Fleeting details stood out — delicate figurations passed among strings, succulent woodwind chorales, a duet for flute and horn that sounded like a conversation between a robin and a bullfrog — yet the entirety had an inexorable sweep.

The program opened with an account of the mysterious, Greek-inspired “Helios” overture, an immediate show of Mr. Gilbert’s sympathetic mastery... Zachary Woolfe, describing in The New York Times a Nielsen-heavy 2012 concert as one of the strongest efforts of Mr. Gilbert’s tenure to date, noted his animated engagement and the response it galvanized from the players.

The same was resoundingly true on Wednesday, prompting the audience to recall Mr. Gilbert to the stage repeatedly with a lengthy, hearty ovation.

George Grella, in New York Classical Review, called the concert "magnificent":

Gilbert understands the shape of the music and allowed it to flow — the emphasis was on where it was going, not what it was doing. He brought out unusual fullness in the string section, here and throughout the concert. ...

Gilbert and musicians conveyed a joyous sense of striding towards the grand reward of the music’s ravishing, unsentimental climaxes. ...

The Nielsen sound brings out the best in the Philharmonic: muscular, warm, open-throated, even slightly rough playing that seems ideal. Everyone has a chance to play not just loud but with gusto. Every bar was gripping.

If the playing of Symphony No. 1 was exciting, Symphony No. 4, after intermission, was blazing. The piece doesn’t begin so much as it erupts, quickly followed by gentle, lyrical music in the strings and winds. The orchestra’s intensity and expression was just as compelling when quiet. Every phrase was played with the sense that a powerful meaning lay just under the surface, and that there was an emotional and intellectual purpose behind all the notes. ...

No one plays Nielsen better than Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic...

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Alan Gilbert, Nielsen Project Featured in Times Article

Alan Gilbert Carl Nielsen 

In a February 20 article, part of the paper's Classical Spring Preview, The New York Times' Zachary Woolfe cited Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic's Nielsen Project as the prime example of a boom in concerts featuring the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. Woolfe wrote:

Alan Gilbert’s most important efforts as music director of the New York Philharmonic have been in the realm of new music, hoisting the orchestra into the 21st century with initiatives like the Contact! series and the forthcoming NY Phil Biennial. But some of his biggest successes have been with a composer who died in 1931, the Danish symphonic master Carl Nielsen.

Buoyed by Mr. Gilbert, whose Scandinavian appetite might have grown during his years leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, his New York ensemble is in the midst of a multiyear project of recording Nielsen’s six symphonies and three concertos for the Dacapo label. In 2012, its program of the flute and violin concertos was among the best concerts of Mr. Gilbert’s tenure, a thrilling demonstration of a sensibility balanced between Romantic and Modernist.

Mr. Gilbert and the Philharmonic take another step forward with a program opening March 12 at Avery Fisher Hall: Nielsen’s First Symphony, whose opening bustles and slow movement does not so much wander as lyrically swirl, the dramatic Fourth (“Inextinguishable”) and the “Helios” Overture. ...

And the Philharmonic will have one more word on the subject. The British composer Julian Anderson’s “Discovery of Heaven,” whose American premiere will be performed by the Philharmonic on April 24 at Fisher Hall, under the direction of Andrew Davis, is inspired by sources as far-flung as Japanese Gagaku music, Mongolian overtone chanting, Gregorian chant and the interplay between percussion and melody at the end of the first movement of, you guessed it, Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony.

It will be a must-hear for the Nielsen Project completists out there, and perhaps enough to hold them until October, when the Philharmonic approaches the conclusion of its series at Fisher Hall with a program including the Symphonies No. 5 and 6. The Sixth, a thorny, ambiguous work nicknamed the “Sinfonia semplice,” will have its first Philharmonic performances, an occasion to celebrate for Nielsen lovers everywhere.

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