Concert Review: Gilbert makes official debut at New York Philharmonic

Posted on: September 17, 2009

Thursday (9/17) on the New York Times website, Anthony Tommasini writes, “There were no speeches on Wednesday night when Alan Gilbert conducted his first concert as the music director of the New York Philharmonic. Many words have been spoken and written about the significance of Mr. Gilbert’s appointment since it was announced two years ago. For this season-opening concert, broadcast on public television’s ‘Live From Lincoln Center’ series and relayed on an outdoor video screen to Lincoln Center Plaza, music would have to do the talking. And it did, eloquently and excitingly. … [Gilbert] began with the premiere of ‘EXPO,’ an urgent, inventive 10-minute piece by the Philharmonic’s new composer in residence Magnus Lindberg. … If after this premiere, Mr. Gilbert had turned to standard repertory, he would still have earned enormous credit in contemporary-music circles for opening the season with a new piece. Instead, he offered an early work by Messiaen, ‘Poèmes Pour Mi,’ with Renée Fleming as soloist. … After intermission, Mr. Gilbert ended with a rhythmically exacting and coolly incisive account of Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique.’ … An involving new piece, a star soprano in a repertory leap, a bracing account of a staple and an enormous ovation from the audience. It was a great beginning for Mr. Gilbert and his orchestra.”

Posted September 17, 2009