Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava at Alice Tully Hall, November 5, 2012
The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2012
Posted here belatedly because sometimes there aren't enough hours in a day, a week or a life, this is a review of the only night I attended in Petr Kotik's ambitious, expansive festival marking the John Cage centenary, Beyond Cage: Cage at 100/Music at 2012. This was the only concert in the series that the Times covered, due to Superstorm Sandy… remarkably, every event in the festival actually took place, with one delay and one relocation if I have my details right.
As for other press coverage of the series, Alan Lockwood contributed a short Q&A with Kotik to Time Out New York; George Grella covered the opening-night performance of Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis with Winter Music at Carnegie Hall for Sequenza 21; and Harry Rolnick wrote an uproariously pained account of the same concert (though a not at all unthoughtful one) for ConcertoNet.com. Perhaps more reviews will follow in time.
I'm especially sorry to have missed the U.S. premiere staging of Salvatore Sciarrino's Infinito nero, which I was originally assigned to cover, but grateful that I was able to attend this one concert at least. Admittedly I went in wondering a bit whether four Feldman orchestral scores on a single bill, three of them late concertos, might amount to much of a muchness. I came away impressed by how different they are—and how substantial, as well.
It's unfortunate and a bit ridiculous, honestly, that Feldman's concertos aren't mounted more often; it's not at all difficult to imagine, say, Christian Tetzlaff or Frank Peter Zimmerman working wonders in the endlessly beguiling Violin and Orchestra with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Then again, these mysterious pieces require of their soloists a kind of self-abnegation that must seem counterintuitive to star performers.
You can hear all three of the concertos from this program on YouTube, an increasingly vital resource for finding seldom-encountered music. (The fourth piece, Structures, is available on an essential 2011 Mode CD conducted by Brad Lubman.)
Piano and Orchestra (complete in first three segments of six-part playlist)
Flute and Orchestra (complete)
Violin and Orchestra (complete in five-part playlist)