November 1st, 2014

briar

Perhaps a piece of Mahler's


So it turns out maybe they're not perfect after all. Tonight's Philadelphia Orchestra Mahler 2nd at Carnegie Hall was by most standards a triumph. But this was the Philadelphia, the unreasonably good, the suspiciously talented. And so it actually fell a bit short. Early on, it seemed well up to their nothing-they-can't-do usual. And except for an occasional crack more than normal, it was. The last movement was where it unraveled. It's episodic and difficult to hold together, to be sure, but really didn't cohere tonight. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Seguin rallied a couple times and brought it to a rousing finish, but didn't really get back what he started with. But, better conductors have been felled by Mahler, and he's young yet. It didn't really go bad, but he and his ensemble have set the bar quite high...I guess even they have to fall a little short now and then. The Westminster Choir did some superb singing, though, especially the quiet bits, which are really easy to sing too loud. Hardly anybody gets the "wie ein Hauch" bits right. And it's a little funny that at home this program is part of a month-long organ festival...so it goes on the road to Carnegie Hall, with the electronic organ that has to work really hard to be inadequate. The organist did manage about a draw, which is quite good...most lose their battles with it.