Review: New York Philharmonic in Salonen’s “Wing on Wing,” Thorvaldsottir’s “Aeriality”

Posted on: May 25, 2017

“The end of the New York Philharmonic’s season is near and with it the close of Alan Gilbert’s tenure as music director,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Sunday’s (5/21) New York Times. “He seems to be working through items on a bucket list, among them performances of … ‘Das Rheingold’ … and a political statement in the form of concerts (beginning June 7) featuring musicians from Iran, Iraq and Israel, among other countries. On Friday Mr. Gilbert fulfilled another wish: to finally bring to David Geffen Hall the mating call of the male plainfin midshipman. This bioluminescent toadfish, which is native to Pacific coastal waters, produces a didgeridoo-like hum. A recording of one lovesick chorus of midshipmen intoning a low E natural added an otherworldly drone to parts of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s ‘Wing on Wing,’ an extravagantly beautiful, psychedelic work from 2004…. The concert also featured … ‘Aeriality’ by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, a single-movement orchestral exploration of natural forces. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir uses the orchestra to create a voluminous cloud of sound that grows, swirls and thins out in a haze shimmering with microtonal dissonances…. Mr. Gilbert drew confident, idiomatic performances from an ensemble that has been fed a rich diet of new music under his guidance.”

Posted May 25, 2017

Pictured: The New York Philharmonic and Music Director Alan Gilbert at Geffen Hall on May 19. Photo by Ian Douglas / New York Times