10 April 2013
“Brey’s measured approach, with steady pacing and lighter tone, reminded us of the origin of these pieces as intimate works for private study: the expressivity of the music seemed to emerge solely from the magisterial logic of its craft,” writes The New Yorker of Carter Brey’s recent marathon of the Complete Bach Cello Suites. “The most compelling moments came when the essential qualities of the instruments were brought to the fore: the melancholy Fifth Suite, in which the top string is tuned downward to give the instrument a darker sound, and the Sixth, in which the pealing brightness of the high string elicited a murmur of delight from the audience.”
If you missed this performance, you can still catch Carter in the 2013–14 season: He joins Alisa Weilerstein and Daniel Müller-Schott October 24–26 for Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concerto grosso for three cellos. This comes hot on the heels an opening gala featuring another noted cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.
(Photo: Chris Lee)
3 April 2013
Better Know a Bach Soloist: András Schiff
While this week marks his first time conducting us, it’s not Hungarian-born pianist András Schiff’s first time at the New York Philharmonic rodeo; in fact, tonight will mark his 20th performance with the Orchestra when he appears both as conductor and pianist for The Bach Variations’s final series: Bach’s Keyboard Concertos in F minor and D major, plus Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 9 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.
“[I]t was as if Mr. Schiff were channeling Bach, not just performing him,” raved The New York Times of András’s artistry. Get a taste for that channeling above with the Prelude and Fugue in C minor from Book I of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier.
29 March 2013
“I think Bach is actually the most important composer for our time, because he gives us something we don’t have,” cellist Jan Vogler recently told ABC’s Sandy Kenyon. “We have this fast communication and then Bach can really bring us back to ourselves, to our souls, to our real center.”
Jan, who recently performed Bloch’s Schelomo with us at Avery Fisher Hall in New York and at the University Musical Society in Michigan (and will reprise the work in Dresden this May on our EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour), can be seen and heard above in ABC’s special report performing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major off of his new album on Sony.
For comparison’s sake, own Principal Cello Carter Brey plays the same work (along with Bach’s other five cello suites) on Monday at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Tickets are currently sold out, but you can click here for more information on our waiting list.
26 March 2013
Better Know a Bach Soloist: Carter Brey
Our very own Principal Cello Carter Brey takes on Bach’s Complete Suites for Unaccompanied Cello this Wednesday and next Monday. As we previously mentioned, Carter originally said that his first reaction to this program was: “Would I really buy a ticket to hear myself play these pieces in one sitting?” He changed his tune when he had the idea to play the Sixth Suite as originally intended, using a custom-built five-string cello.
A frequent solo voice here at the Phil, Carter is also no stranger to chamber music in New York and beyond. Hear him above in a live performance from Music@Menlo of Debussy’s Cello Sonata with pianist Gilbert Kalish.
21 March 2013
All Aboard the Bach Train
New Yorkers, have you noticed Bach accompanying you today in transit? It’s not just strains from our The Bach Variations festival getting stuck in your head. To celebrate the composer’s 328th birthday today, accordionists, violinists, a keyboardist, and cellists galore are serenading straphangers with Bach in subway stations throughout the city. Check out this handy map and schedule detailing the third annual Bach in the Subways Day.
Photo of Dale Henderson, Bach in the Subways Day founder, courtesy of WQXR.
21 March 2013
Bach of the Walk
According to the old system of dates, Johann Sebastian Bach is a March 21 baby (though in the new system, it would be March 31). In either case, alles Gute zum Geburtstag, J.S. Bach! We’ll celebrate with full fanfare tonight in a concert featuring Bernard Labadie and Isabelle Faust. But as a prelude, we grabbed six mini waffles (one for each of the Brandenburg Concertos) and plenty of coffee to ring in Bach’s 328th year. We’re sure he would have approved of the divine proportion involved in Wafels & Dinges’s toppings.
19 March 2013
Better Know a Bach Soloist: Isabelle Faust
It’s worth selling your soul to hear Isabelle Faust play Bach. The German violinist and “Sleeping Beauty” (her 1704 Stradivarius violin) wake up at Avery Fisher Hall for the first time this week with Bach’s Violin Concertos in E major and A minor, under the baton of Bernard Labadie.
“We are an old couple now,” Faust explains of her violin (which owes its name to the fact that it was tucked away in a villa, undiscovered for 150 years) in a current Playbill feature, “quarreling through the day.” However, the pair converge harmonically, especially in Faust’s historically-informed performances of Bach. Heard above in one of her recordings for Harmonia Mundi, she samples the composer’s Sonata in A minor, BWV 1003.
19 March 2013
Tonight at 7:00 p.m., you can see and hear violinist (and New York Philharmonic debutant) Isabelle Faust and Philharmonic Principal Cello Carter Brey (who has his own sold-out pair of concerts as part of The Bach Variations) in our latest installment of New York Philharmonic Offstage. Hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon, the event is free and open to all at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Come join the Bach-chanale!
(Photos: Felix Broede [Faust], Chris Lee [Brey], Marco Antonio [Spurgeon])