Concert Review: New York Youth Symphony premieres Honstein’s “Verge”

Posted on: December 8, 2010

In Wednesday’s (12/8) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes about the New York Youth Symphony, whose musicians, “ages 12 to 21, are sufficiently devoted to the music that when they perform at Carnegie Hall, as they did on Sunday afternoon, they produce a sound that would do an adult orchestra proud, in programs built largely of cornerstones of the standard canon. Ryan McAdams, the orchestra’s 28-year old conductor, framed this first program of the season with a pair of big display pieces, Strauss’s ‘Don Juan’ and Respighi’s ‘Pines of Rome.’ … Between the Strauss and the Respighi, Mr. McAdams led two works in which Anthony McGill, the Metropolitan Opera’s principal clarinetist, was the soloist. In the first, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Mr. McGill played the outer movements with spirited elegance and offered an exquisitely soulful rendering of the Adagio. The clarinet was also the protagonist, more or less, in Robert Honstein’s ‘Verge’ (2010), a 10-minute work composed for the occasion. Mr. Honstein wrote the piece while spending the summer at Lake Champlain and preparing to move to Brooklyn with uncertain prospects. The tensions and doubts fostered by that uncertainty take form in roiling, insistent orchestral figuration. But there are lakeside reveries too, and Mr. Honstein linked these extremes with concise clarinet figures that Mr. McGill played with a fluid assertiveness.”

Posted December 8, 2010