Whilst travelling I always try and see some concerts as well and New York City is definitely the place for that!
On my last trip to the Big Apple I already had the chance to see the NY Phil in action and so I was of course keen to find out what they had on the programme – Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’été and Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade – definitely something tickling my musical taste buds!
Czech born Magdalena Kožená gave her NY Phil debut, though the performance I attended was already the second one of this particular programme. Her voice has a beautiful depth to it and radiates such warmth and it was a pure joy to listen to these very lyrical pieces. The connection between her and Alan Gilbert brought the music very much alive. However, the audience was not on its best behaviour during the first half of the concert! It was a total of 6 songs and between number 3 and 4 the usual, very annoying cough chorus broke out and didn’t stop! Gilbert actually had to turn around and this really spoilt the whole atmosphere!
The second half was a totally different ball game – the atmosphere had changed completely once the first chords of this magnificent fairy tale rang out! And what a Magic Carpet Ride through the Arabian Nights this was! I was lucky enough to actually sit in the first row and even though the view was not the best I felt the music ever so strong! The acoustics in David Geffen Hall are really quite something – even though I sat very close to the Violas I heard the full picture and it was just mesmerising! Imagine listening to this piece on full volume in your own home through some very high quality headphones… I mean the sound just blew you away! Some recordings that I have heard in the past have the piecd being played very rhythmically exact. Gilbert however just added a magicial touch with having the emphasising the oriental rhythms ever so slightly which had an incredible effect on the piece! You were just swept away by this sheer wave of musical intensity! Russian composers definitely know how to deliver big on emotion!
You can only imagine how much spring I had in my step when I left the auditorium – there were various other people still humming the melodies… https://youtu.be/9mCcEbnYWV4 – have a look here for a little taster which by no means gives justice to how magnificent the piece was!
Another nice little note on the side: thanks to my work in hospitality I always get to meet all different people from all around the world. So on sitting down in my seat I have a look around – and lo and behold – there is a face in the audience a few rows up that I recognise. So I decide to walk up and ask – and yes, it turned out to be a former guest that I had looked after more than once in London whilst he was on an operatic tour through the UK and Europe. Just shows you small the world is when you have similar interests…..