Conductor: Andrey Boreyko
Wagner: Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 – James Ehnes
I was not sure I wanted to go to the second New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park, especially as the temperature was getting high and the air muggy, but then again, how could I pass an opportunity to maybe get to hear Tchaikovsky’s glorious violin concerto? The violinist du jour was going to be James Ehnes, and I knew from previous experience that, if nothing else, he would get the job masterfully done with his rock-solid technique. That just did it. So I ended up finding a seat on a bench outside of the reserved area, and while the constant coming and going of passer-bys could be distracting, it was actually possible to grasp some of what was happening on the stage, which was, after all, the whole point.
Unsurprisingly, Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger came through pretty much intact, if a bit faint, assertively muscling its way through the ambient noise and freely unfolding its irresistible charm in our countrified setting.
Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece for violin did not fare quite as well, mostly because the quieter moments were practically inaudible. This was, of course, to be expected, but I still couldn’t help spending a large part of the evening pining over the delicate canzonetta. All was not lost though since dazzling pyrotechnics abounded too, and those were performed with such remarkable dexterity and boundless energy that they elicited spontaneous, vigorous applause every time they came up. This was all a bit unorthodox, sure, but, after all, quite in line with the all-inclusive spirit of the whole event. Let us enjoy the music!
I did not stay for Brahms’ Symphony No 1, figuring that I had had my fill of stickiness, crowd and, let’s not forget, live music for yet one more summer evening.
And that was pretty satisfying.
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