Review: New England Philharmonic presents Steven Stucky’s rarely performed Symphony

Posted on: March 8, 2018

In 2012, Steven Stucky “completed his Symphony, a joint commission from the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics,” writes Aaron Keebaugh in Sunday’s (3/4) Boston Classical Review. Stucky died in 2016, and the work has “fallen off the radar…. Fortunately, Richard Pittman and the New England Philharmonic … offered Stucky’s Symphony in its belated Boston premiere….. Stucky’s Symphony is a crystalline example of formal logic and searching musical craftsmanship…. One of the most beautiful episodes in the Symphony is a glowing chord pattern—a kind of hymn played by the French horns. In that passage, the musicians of the New England Philharmonic found radiant warmth….  Paestum [by Eric Nathan, a former Stucky student] received its world premiere in its orchestral version Saturday…. It unfolds through stabbing string figures and bold brass chords, which together create a bristly texture. As the music slows down, Nathan’s short melodic statements extend into long lines that hang in space like light through a church window…. Pittman and the New England Philharmonic gave Nathan’s music bold advocacy through a nimble, precise performance.” Also on the program were Busoni’s Indian Fantasy for piano and orchestra, with soloist Jeffrey Swann; “Three Dance Variations” from Bernstein’s Fancy Free; and Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

Posted March 8, 2018