Concert Review: New York Philharmonic opens season with Marsalis’s “Swing Symphony”

Posted on: September 24, 2010

In Friday’s (9/24) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “What better way to open an orchestra’s new season than with a new piece? That was Alan Gilbert’s reasoning last September, when he inaugurated his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic with the premiere of ‘EXPO,’ an exciting work by Magnus Lindberg, the Philharmonic’s composer in residence. On Wednesday night at Avery Fisher Hall, Mr. Gilbert began his second season at the helm of the Philharmonic. Again the program, broadcast on PBS’s ‘Live From Lincoln Center,’ began with a premiere, this time of a sprawling new score by Wynton Marsalis, ‘Swing Symphony’ (Symphony No. 3), written for and performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Philharmonic. … The five movements of this 45-minute work evoke, pay homage to and juxtapose styles of jazz and pop: ragtime, mambo, bebop, black American church music. And bringing the 15 virtuosos of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, including Mr. Marsalis, together with the players of the Philharmonic was, in theory, an inspiring idea. Still, during long stretches the music, as orchestrated here, hovered uneasily in some middle ground … Mr. Gilbert seemed totally in his element, conducting with a mix of cool command and jazzy swing. The Philharmonic players should be proud. They played with verve and color.”

Posted September 24, 2010