Sunday 26 February 2012

The New York Philharmonic at The Barbican

On Saturday 18th February 2012 I made the journey to London to attend the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's concert at The Barbican which was part of their residency as one of the Barbican's International Associate ensembles. The New York Philharmonic are one of the oldest symphony orchestra in the USA. Their Music Director is the dynamic Alan Gilbert, the first native New Yorker to hold the post.

The programme consisted of Feria - Magnus Lindberg, Piano Concerto No.2 - Bartok and Symphony No.5 - Prokofiev. With Alan Gilbert conducting and Lang Lang the soloist on Bartok's Piano Concerto No.2 this was always going to be a thrilling night and it proved to be.

The concert opened with Feria from the Orchestra's Composer in Residence Magnus Lindberg. The word feria is Spanish for an outdoor festival or fair which is portrayed in this piece of music. A wonderful celebration to began this special night.

Lang Lang is a global superstar and it was brilliant for me to see him live. He has inspired 40 million classical piano students in China and has made it his mission to broaden the reach of classical music around the world. Bartok's Piano Concerto No.2 was completed in 1931 as a companion piece to No.1 which audiences found difficult. No.2 was similar in style but lighter for audiences to enjoy. After a stunning performance of this piece from Lang Lang we were treated to an encore of Paganini/Liszt La Campanella.

After the interval there was a dramatic performance of Prokofiev's Symphony No.5 from Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic which was full of live. A symphony of the grandeur of the human spirit as Prokofiev would say. This piece was composed in 1944 and was greatly enjoyed by the large audience. There was an encore of Bernstein's Candide overture which was a splendid finish to the evening as New York made it's mark on the City of London.

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