Concert Review: New York Philharmonic marks Sondheim’s birthday

Posted on: March 17, 2010

In Tuesday’s (3/16) New York Times, Stephen Holden writes, “From Broadway’s prodigious boy wonder to its beloved aging monarch: For Stephen Sondheim, whose forthcoming 80th birthday on March 22 was celebrated in a thrilling concert at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday evening, it must have seemed like a hop, skip and a jump from one to the other. … While such celebrations tend to be messy affairs, ‘Sondheim: The Birthday Concert’ (directed by Lonny Price), was a model of organization, with a suave host (David Hyde Pierce) and witty leitmotifs woven into its structure. Performances by an all-star guest list that included Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch and Nathan Gunn proceeded at a brisk pace; there was no speechifying. … Monday’s concert demonstrated that there is still no substitute for a force as mighty as the New York Philharmonic (conducted by Paul Gemignani) playing songs conceived and orchestrated (most often by Jonathan Tunick) for a symphonic palette. The major songs from ‘Follies’ and ‘A Little Night Music’ in particular, are far-reaching ballads with melodic lines that sweep to the horizon.”

Posted March 17, 2010