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Review: Children Sing of Resistance on the Philharmonic

Review: Children Sing of Resistance on the Philharmonic


Beyond this reminder of Britten, Neuwirth folds in nods to different kinds and works — crisp, courtly echoes of Baroque music; touches of louche, soiled blues; the solemn bells of Wagner’s “Parsifal” — within the eclectic method of Berio’s 1968 “Sinfonia” or Mahler’s symphonies, to offer a way of the burden of historical past on modernity, typically oppressive and typically inspiring.

It struck me that the principle structural problem of “Hippogriff” is that, with the voices representing activism and advantage, Neuwirth seems to her orchestra to offer evocations of each the world’s repressive forces and the fertile, artistic wildness out of which resistance may emerge.

The outcome, maybe essentially, is muddled — significantly over half an hour of fairly repetitive musical and thematic materials. The Berlin Philharmonic’s efficiency, archived on its Digital Concert Hall platform, affords, as a recording can, a extra clear seize of this dense work, and the sound of the boys within the Tölzer Knabenchor is extra distinctive than the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s women.

Played after a recent, vibrant model of Lili Boulanger’s dewy “D’un Matin de Printemps,” “Hippogriff” made a pleasant pairing with one other crashingly grand piece by which triumph is touched with darkness: Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, given a comfortably heat efficiency underneath Sondergard, the brand new music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, who made a powerful Philharmonic debut with this program. (Saturday was the final of three live shows.)

Both works include delicate however essential references to the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — Neuwirth in a quick passage of quiet, stalwart marching within the low winds (in addition to in as her brotherhood-celebrating textual content), and Prokofiev within the little bit of hymn within the low strings that units off his Fifth’s stirring conclusion.

Throughout the symphony, Sondergard saved the balances clear between the orchestra’s sections, by no means dropping the winds within the strings or the strings within the brasses. And the Philharmonic performed vividly however with out exaggeration, the climaxes blazing with out blaring.

New York Philharmonic

Performed on Saturday at David Geffen Hall, Manhattan.

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