Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mostly Mozart at the Lincoln Center

Last night, NYChoirgirl took me to the Lincoln Center to hear the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis perform Mozart's Requiem. It was a completely wonderful evening from beginning to end, and not just because of the music. But the music is what I'm going to write about here.
The program began with Mozart's piano concerto no. 27, with Imogen Cooper as the soloist. The orchestra was sparkling, and made up for some rather disappointing shortcomings on the part of the soloist. Mozart hardly requires the muscular strength of a Beethoven or Rachmaninoff, but I found myself wishing she would put a little more muscle behind the potentially really dramatic music, particularly during the final movement. In general, her take on the whole work was surprisingly romantic, slow and rubato, and while I think that this concerto in particular is often rushed, and lacking the emotional depth the music suggests to me, this rendition became a little tiresome. Her lack of clarity in her left hand also tended to mask her more virtuosic right hand articulation, and the lack of movement in the whole work drew attention to this imbalance.
The second half, however, more than made up for the shortcomings of the first. We had come mainly to hear the Requiem, which NYChoirgirl sang recently, and I hope to sing one day.
It was absolutely spectacular. The choir, which was pretty substantial, sounded like it consisted of twice the voices it did, and yet not one ounce of clarity was lost. The sound was clean, full, and periodically amazingly, expressively, soft yet penetrating. I was overwhelmed. The balance between choir and orchestra was amazing, and the conductor was a treat to watch.
Can you tell I had a good time?
It is still periodically amazing to me to find myself in this city, surrounded by so much .... so much of everything. And so wonderfully happy.

UPDATE: The New York Times review of Wednesday's performance is much more thorough than mine. Thank you, NYChoirgirl, for forwarding this to me.

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