Including Performances by Gilbert as Violist in Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2 (June 12), and Beethoven’s Monumental Missa Solemnis, Paired with World Premiere of Al largo by Magnus Lindberg (June 23-26)
Following a trio of triumphant sold-out performances of György Ligeti’s opera, Le Grand Macabre, Alan Gilbert turns to the final concerts of his inaugural season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Highlights of his three upcoming programs at Avery Fisher Hall are an appearance by Gilbert as violist in Brahms’s Sextet No. 2 with musicians of the New York Philharmonic (June 12 at 2pm), and season-ending performances of Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis, paired with the world premiere of Al largo, a new work by Magnus Lindberg – the orchestra’s Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence – commissioned by the New York Philharmonic (June 23, 24, and 26). Detailed information on each program, including an additional concert by Gilbert and the Philharmonic at Newark’s NJPAC, follows below.
The first program (June 10-12 and 15) pairs music by two Finns – Sibelius and Lindberg – along with Brahms’s ebullient Symphony No. 2. Lisa Batiashvili will be the soloist in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, and Gilbert will also conduct Lindberg’s 1995 work Arena, which the conductor describes as “an amazing tour-de-force for the orchestra.” Brahms’s Second Symphony will also be heard on the Saturday Matinee on June 12, which will feature Gilbert as one of the two violists in Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2. Gilbert has performed chamber music with members of the orchestra many times, including at an earlier Saturday Matinee concert this season.
In the second program (June 17-19), Gilbert will lead the orchestra in Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll; H.K. Gruber’s trumpet concerto Aerial; Mozart’s Symphony No. 25; and Wagner’s Prelude and “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde. Joining the orchestra for Aerial is Swedish trumpet virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger, for whom the work was written, and who is making his New York Philharmonic debut. Gilbert calls Aerial “phenomenally difficult for the trumpet and incredibly fun to listen to.”
Three concerts at Avery Fisher Hall (June 23, 24, and 26) end the season in suitably grand and celebratory fashion. The program features Al largo, a world-premiere New York Philharmonic commission by Magnus Lindberg, paired with Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Along with Ligeti’s opera, Le Grand Macabre, Gilbert has long considered this famously challenging work by Beethoven as one of the touchstones of his inaugural season. Few works for chorus and orchestra impose as many technical and physical demands on its performers, especially to the massed singers, who sing for much of the work’s approximately 80-minute duration. Bass Eric Owens, whose lead performance as Nekrotzar in the Philharmonic’s staging of the Ligeti opera was so widely hailed, returns as one of the four soloists in the Missa Solemnis.