Monday, December 8, 2008

"The Year in Classical And Dance" from New York Magazine

The Big Entrance
The unofficial start of Alan Gilbert's reign at the NY Philharmonic with a free concert in Central Park takes the cake as the most important classical music happening of 2008. While some people (and some players) expressed grief at his replacement of Riccardo Muti who, as we know, lovingly declined the position of music director, his official reign (which starts in September) is guaranteed to be new and exciting. He already expressed some new ideas he has for the Phil: Phil: "a new-music ensemble, a renegotiated balance between contemporary music and traditional repertoire, and the world premiere of a work by composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg; Messiaen’s Poèmes pour mi, sung by Renée Fleming; and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique."

The Year in Superlatives
Best Changing of the Guard: City Ballet's New Male Trio
Sean Suozzi, Tyler Angle, and Robert Fairchild are the three new male headliners for the New York City Ballet. Having seen all three I can tell you that these are three thrilling dancers. Sean Souzzi happens to be my favorite of the three, with his "dark romanticism" and gorgeous dancing.
Best Choreographer: Benjamin Millepied
I've only seen him dance (and sing) in Jerome Robbin's West Side Story Suite so I can tell you nothing about his choreography. To experience Millepied's "unique vision" for yourself you can visit the New York City Ballet this spring at the start of its new season.
Best Use of an Unexpected Space: Die Soldaten
This avant-garde opera written by Bernd Alois Zimmermann found an equally obscure home at the drill hall in the Park Avenue Armory. In this extraordinary production has movable bleachers that transport the audience from one scene to another.

The Top Ten Classical Events
10) Youtube Symphony- Global online auditions for an orchestra to play a new work by Tan Dun were launched by Google last week. All auditioners post a video of themselves on Youtube playing the music Google posted. Sounds like I'll be wasting even more hours on Youtube!
9) Tristan und Isolde- That old cursed thing? Apparently New York Magazine thinks it was worth the wait.
8) Alarm Will Sound- I'm not sure I understand it, but apparently this ensemble played an orchestration of a player-piano piece that can not be played by human hands.
7) The Opening of (Le) Poisson Rouge- A new hot spot for "genre hoppers." I'm not sure it's a cross-over club...
6) Brooklyn Rider at the Brooklyn Lyceum- Brooklyn's leading string quartet and Iranian fiddler Kayhan Kalhor displayed "magical logic"during that one night concert, which you can catch on their CD Passport.
5) Peter Grimes- The most disturbing production, in my opinion, of the Met's 2007-2008 season
catches this number 5 spot with Athony Dean Griffey's performances as Peter Grimes.
4) Bernstein at 90- What would a classical countdown be without a little Bernstein love?
3) Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI- A unofficial soundtrack to Don Quixote played by a Catalan viola da gamba master and his ensemble, featuring works written during the time of Cervantes.
2) Jeremy Denk at Zankel Hall- Fellow blogger Jeremy Denk performed two rigorous piano works by Ives and Beehtoven and later picked the keys out of his teeth.
1) Doctor Atomic- "Adams’s score overwhelmed the weaknesses in Peter Sellars’s quilted-together libretto." Apparently. The orchestra, led by Alan Gilbert, was the real star of the show. Not that I would know. I didn't the production and I don't possess a true ear for new music.

So, the best the Met could muster was Doctor Atomic, Peter Grimes, and Tristan und Isolde. Well, good for them, it could have been far worse I suppose.

My favorite?
The Worst of the Year:
"Already wheezing during the boom years, New York City Opera suffered a triple trauma when renovations to the State Theater forced the current season's cancellation, fund-raising hit a wall, and incoming general manager Gerard Mortier decided to take his ball and go home. The tragic debacle leaves the company on the brink."
Silly Mortier, NYCO is for Sills!

Happy Listening!!! =)

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