The New York Philharmonic

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There will be no late seating for this performance. Please allow enough time to arrive at the hall so that you are seated on time
Tchaikovsky's Pathétique and Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $32.00 - $134.00
 
Thu, Feb, 14, 2013
7:30 PM
 
Fri, Feb, 15, 2013
8:00 PM
 
Sat, Feb, 16, 2013
8:00 PM
Rudolf Buchbinder

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 (1881)

Johannes Brahms's much-quoted, tongue-in-cheek quip describes this epic piano concerto as "a tiny, tiny pianoforte concerto, with a tiny, tiny wisp of a scherzo." It followed the First Piano Concerto by 22 years — a very long hiatus, indeed — but perhaps understandable, as his first effort in the genre was less than successful in its time. But much like that work, the four movements of the present Second Piano Concerto seem to approach the dimensions of a symphony. (In fact, in another famous quip, the irascible music critic Eduard Hanslick called the concerto "a symphony with piano obbligato.") At once full of nobility, lyricism, and brilliance, the concerto is also monstrously challenging to perform and demands not only interpretive power, but sheer stamina (though it should be remembered that Brahms was not an advocate of technical virtuosity as an end in itself). Brahms was the soloist at the premiere, conducted by the renowned Hans von Bülow. The concerto begins with a brass fanfare or motif — answered with great beauty by the piano-that becomes the source material for much of the first movement's power. There is plenty of excitement as you watch the hands of the soloist leap across the keyboard and pile up rich chords in the process. The "wisp" of the scherzo is anything but; it is a stormy, dramatic statement. The Andante features a gorgeous cello solo and provides moments of great tenderness and grace. And the finale's marking of "Allegretto grazioso" sums up perfectly the surprisingly light but dazzling conclusion, in which some listeners have heard suggestions of the Hungarian gypsy music Brahms so often gravitated to — perhaps a nod to Budapest, the place of the premiere.
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique (1893)

The nickname “Pathétique” (meaning “emotional,” not “pathetic”) of Tchaikovsky’s searing final work has been seen as a farewell to the world. His death followed just nine days after the premiere. The composer wrote: “The program will be left as an enigma … [It] is so intensely personal that as I was mentally composing it, I frequently wept copiously.” The music begins in the depths of the bassoon register—dark, gloomy, and melancholy; much tumult and anguish follow, but also a waltz in an off-beat 5/4, rather than 3/4, meter. The boisterous, manic climax of the third movement often misleads audience members into thinking that it’s the end of the Sixth. But resist the impulse to applaud! The finale, Adagio lamentoso, is yet to come, with the real ending announced by a foreboding stroke of the tam-tam, and then sinking into gloomy silence—a shattering final utterance.

Artists

Alan Gilbert

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of pride for the city and country. “He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be,” The New York Times praised.

Mr. Gilbert and the Philharmonic have forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, held in the 2013–14 season by Christopher Rouse and pianist Yefim Bronfman, respectively; an annual festival, which this season is The Beethoven Piano Concertos; CONTACT!, the new-music series, extending its reach this season with more concerts in new venues across the city; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers.

In the 2013–14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart’s three final symphonies; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film is screened, as part of THE ART OF THE SCORE: Film Week at the Philharmonic; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer’s centennial; and a staged production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He also continues The Nielsen Project, the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012. The Music Director will preside over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour, with stops including Tokyo and Seoul, featuring Artist-in-Residence Yefim Bronfman performing Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse’s Rapture, and Alan Gilbert narrating Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in Japanese at a Young People’s Concert in Tokyo.

Last season’s highlights included Bach’s B-minor Mass and Ives’s Fourth Symphony, and, during the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour, participating in the Vienna Konzerthaus’s centennial and performing Lindberg’s Kraft and Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms at the Volkswagen Transparent Factory. The season concluded with A Dancer’s Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.

High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first three Philharmonic seasons included the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — and Philharmonic 360 (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen.  Other highlights include World Premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and composers featured on CONTACT!; Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, on A Concert for New York on September 10; Mr. Gilbert’s Philharmonic debut as violin soloist in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; five concerts at Carnegie Hall; five tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he is also the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. His 2013–14 season engagements include appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de Lyon.

Alan Gilbert made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic; the DVD and Blu-ray of this production received the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Renée Fleming’s recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. Earlier releases garnered Grammy Award nominations and top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine.

Mr. Gilbert studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard and was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (1995–97). In May 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Curtis, and in December 2011 he received Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music.” In 2014 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Visit Alan Gilbert's Official Website

Rudolf Buchbinder by Marco Borggreve

Rudolf Buchbinder, firmly established as one of the most important pianists on the international scene, is a regular guest with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, and the London Philharmonic, National Symphony, and Philadelphia orchestras. He has collaborated with the world's most distinguished conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Wolfgang Sawallisch, and he is a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival and other major festivals. He is the founding artistic director of the Grafenegg Music Festival.

Mr. Buchbinder has more than 100 recordings to his credit, including the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas and concertos, the complete Mozart piano concertos, all of Haydn's works for piano, both Brahms concertos, and all of the rarely performed Diabelli Variations collection written by 50 Austrian composers. The 18-disc set of Haydn's works earned him the Grand Prix du Disque. His performances of Beethoven's five piano concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic as soloist and conductor were recorded live at Vienna's Musikverein and were released on DVD in November 2011.

Throughout the 2010–11 season Mr. Buchbinder had a particularly close cooperation with the Dresden Staatskapelle as its artist-in-residence in the first-time position of Capell-Virtuoso. His cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas there was recorded live and released in May 2011 by Sony/RCA Red Seal.

Rudolf Buchbinder attaches considerable importance to the meticulous study of musical sources. He owns 35 complete editions of Beethoven's sonatas and has an extensive collection of autograph scores, first editions, and original documents. In addition, he possesses the autograph scores and piano parts of both Brahms concertos as copies. He was admitted to the Vienna Musik Hochschule at age five and remains the youngest student to gain entrance in the school's history.

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Concert Duration

2 hours 15 minutes

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Photo of Rudolf Buchbinder: Philipp Horak

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