Friday, June 03, 2011

Suspension of Time

An inspired pairing by Alan Gilbert: the world premiere of Sebastian Currier's Time Machines (2007) and Bruckner's Symphony No. 2 in C minor. Currier's rather literal and programmatic musical depiction of fragmented time, delay time, compressed time, overlapping time, entropic time, backwards time and harmonic time prepared the ear to hear the dynamics in Bruckner keenly. Gilbert writes in the program:

There are few composers whose music I could conduct every day for the rest of my life and be satisfied as a musician, and Bruckner is one of them. He is a traditional symphonist but what he does the symphonic form is truly personal. There's a kind of suspension of time in which all the elements that you expect from a symphony are there, but they unfold at a pace that he controls exquisitely, and very deliberately.

The New York Philharmonic played with committed urgency. The sound was in turns lush, etched, lyrical, precipitous, and powerful. The second movement, Andante, was particularly moving, but all four movements were very fine, the dotted rhythms tying them together.

I thought Anne-Sophie Mutter held herself in reserve for Time Machines while playing Beethoven's Romance in F major for Violin and Orchestra. Her playing in Currier's piece struck me as intelligent but rather impersonal.

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