Concert Review: Vienna Philharmonic’s pairing of Harnoncourt, Lang Lang

Posted on: October 1, 2010

In Friday’s (10/1) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Carnegie Hall opened its season on Wednesday night with the Vienna Philharmonic in the first of four programs. … This gala event offered Nikolaus Harnoncourt in a Beethoven program. What could be better? Mr. Harnoncourt and the Vienna players delivered, concluding the concert with a freshly considered, strikingly original and sonically sumptuous performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. But the program began with Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, featuring the pianist Lang Lang, and from the moment Carnegie Hall announced its season months ago, the pairing of Mr. Harnoncourt and Mr. Lang seemed odd. Mr. Harnoncourt is an intellectual musician who came to attention as a pioneer in the early-music movement. Lang Lang, a superstar, a pianist of stunning virtuosity and freewheeling musical instincts, has long seemed anything but intellectual. Yet Mr. Harnoncourt requested that Mr. Lang be the soloist. … And here there was a strong, if curious, rapport between them. … In the symphony Mr. Harnoncourt took the Poco sostenuto introduction in the first movement a little faster than usual, then reined in the Vivace main section, an intriguing approach that gave the movement organic shape.”

Posted October 1, 2010