49TH FESTIVAL FEATURES GALAXY OF INTERNATIONAL STARS
Mostly Mozart Festival through August 22
Dwight Casimere | 8/19/2015, 7:41 a.m.
NEW YORK---Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart 49th Festival concludes with a Closing
Night performance Friday and Saturday, August 21 and 22 at 7:30pm at Avery Fisher
Hall. Renee' and Robert Belfer Music Director Louis Langree' leads the Mostly Mozart
Festival Orchestra in Haydn's Creation with British soprano Sarah Tynan headling an
all-star vocal cast, including Metropolitan Opera favorite, Canadian bass-baritone
John Relyea, British tenor Andrew Staples and the Concert Chorale of New York,
directed by James Bagwell.
Mostly Mozart 49th Festival at Lincoln Center
Renee' and Robert Belfer Music Director Louis Langree'
Soprano Sarah Tynan sings Haydn' triumphant oratorio "Creation"
Opening-Night Program of the Mostly Mozart Festival featured Grammy-winning Sony
Classic exclusive artist Emanuel Ax as soloist for Mozart's mercurial Piano
Concerto No. 14 in E-flar major.
Emanuel Ax is a master at articulating smooth, arcing musical lines in his solos.
This fact was supremely evident in his playing of the Mozart Piano Concerto. From
the opening bars, Ax set out the thematic material with clarity. Although the piece
moved with restless energy from one thematic idea to the next, Ax never rushed
through. Opting instead to play each phrase with distinctive character, allowing the
ideas to unfold against the restless backdrop of Langree's precise handling of the
The second movement, the slow Andantino was particularly revealing of Ax's
luminescent playing style. Each note rang with its own expressive clarity as the
beautiful central theme unfolded with orchestra blending in with a luscious voice in
response. The effect became even more pronounced in its understatement, which left
a sense of longing at its conclusion.
Emanuel Ax was soloist in Mozart's florid Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major
The combined forces of the New York debut of German conductor Cornelius Meister and
the fieryArgentine cellist Sol Gabetta as soloist in Haydn's Cello Concerto in C
major, made this a particularly memorable night for followers of the Mostly Mozart
The hefty program of Mozart's delightfully breezy Overture to the opera Le Nozze di
Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro), Haydn's Cello Concerto and the finale of
Beethoven's forceful Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, made for a music connoisseur's
Gabetta quickly proved why her highly acclaimed debut with the Berlin Philharmonic
at last year's Baden-Baden Easter Festival was one of the landmark events of the
international music year. Gabetta soared in the sophisticated melodies of the
opening Moderato with its various themes reflected between orchestra and soloist.
Gabetta was especially expressive in the moving Adagio with its melancholy theme.
Her fierce attack in the Finale: Allegro molto, playing Haydn's cadenza's ended the
piece with a dramatic flourish.
Conductor Meister proved that he was no novice when it comes to navigating
contrasting shifts between delicate pianissimo and bombastic forte in the Beethoven.
He especially brought out the orchestra's 'inner voices' in the woodwinds and
rallied a stirring advance from the brass. It was a thrilling performance.
Sol Gabetta in the throes of passion with the Haydn Cello Concerto
Below: Conductor Cornelius Meister in his New York debut
A special treat of the Mostly Mozart Festival was the 'nitecap' of A Little Night
Music recitals post-performance in the Kaplan Penthouse atop the Julliard School of
Music across the street. It is literally a nitecap, with the festival offering each
guest a complimentary glass of Napa Valley wine (William Hill), a bottle of
sparkling San Pellegrino water at each of the cabaret-style tables and a
spectacular, starry view of the encircling skyline. There is no more intimate
setting to hear a great artist perform.
A leisurely post-concert stroll from Avery Fisher Hall, past the reclining Henry
Moore sculptures at the reflecting pond landscaping Lincoln Center Plaza, is one of
the decided pleasures of attending A Little Night Music, particularly on a
star-studded, moonlit night. (Yes, this is the one place in mid-town Manhattan where
you can actually see the moon and starts on a clear night, due to the comparative
lack of street light pollution).
Gabetta performed Rachmaninoff's impassioned Sonata in G minor and Servais
technically challenging Fantasie sue deux Airs russes, a piece by a French composer
which reflects Russian thematic material, an obvious nod to her French/Russian
heritage. Ilya Yakushev provided the seamless accompaniment. This night's concert
was streamed live on the internet by Lincoln Center.
Scottish pianist Steven Osborne is a pianist who commands your undivided attention.
His playing is lighting fast, but not a note is dropped. He also has the capability
to pull the reins in and to allow the suspense to build. He and conductor Edward
Garner worked hard to maintain a balance, often looking at each other for visual
cues. The proof was in the pudding with a dramtic reading of the Larghetto slow
second movement and a restless energy leading to a stirring finale in the
Scottish pianist Steven Osborne and (Below) Conductor Edward Gardner
This notable performance was framed by kaleidoscopic reading of Weber's Overture to
Der Freischutz and Beethoven's majestic Symphony No. 7 in A major.
The Calidore String Quartet provided a pre-concert recital of Haydn's delightful
String Quartet is C major, "The Bird," so named because of the chirping sounds made
by the violins in the opening bars.
A Little Night Music followed the concert with a thoroughly engrossing concert by
the Danish String Quartet in their Mostly Mozart debut. The played a program of
pieces that, on their face, seemed odd matched. Their intelligent commentary,
however, showed how each of the pieces interconnected with the others. Mozart's Two
Fugues for String Quartet from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, Thomas Ades
Arcadiana and Beethoven's Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, which the quartet prefaced
with humorous remarks about the composer's intent.
The Danish String Quartet
It was a delightful evening, which showed off the quartet's seamless cooperative
playing, while showcasing the virtuosity of each of its members. The encore was an
ingenious playing of Nielsen's Mit hjerte altid vanker, arranged by the Danish
String Quartet. It was a musically humorous and virtuostic close to a most
satisfyiing post concert experience. The Danish String Quartet proved that it truly
deserves its own showcase in next year's festival on the main stage.