Curtis Orchestra at the Kimmel

A week ago Sunday I went to hear the Curtis Orchestra play Stucky, Beethoven and Mahler. Steve’s piece was Rhapsodies, the short concert opener he wrote for the NY Phil and the BBC Proms. Steve has managed to tread a narrow path: he has his voice (it sounded like a Stucky piece, which is a good thing), yet he is able to use that voice to say something fresh. Here is a horridly shot but interesting video with Steve from the time of the premiere:

As for the rest of the concert, I’m sorry but the Beethoven Triple Concerto is a snore, even when as well played as it was by soloists Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley, and Robert MacDonald. I suppose it is a cliche, but it is still astonishing to see all those young people take on a challenge like Mahler 5; astonishing for how very good it was, though you were not unaware that it could be a bit better. I thought the Adagietto was a high point, though one of my concert companions thought the conducting throughout the whole piece was too focused on details, ignoring the larger line.

Here is a video put out by Carnegie Hall in which a trumpeter from the Berlin Philharmonic coaches a young player on the opening of Mahler 5 (is it the rotary valves rather than pistons that give the Berliner’s trumpet that horn-like timbre? I don’t think I am being influenced by the appearance of the instrument):

And finally, here’s a picture taken at intermission. L to R, Curtis faculty member Jennifer Higdon, myself, Steve Stucky, and Laura Piantini of the Theodore Presser Co. (Steve’s publisher and mine.)
2013-02-17 16.12.32

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