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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Lincoln Center Festival Preview

Franz Welser-Möst brings the music of Bruckner and John Adams to the Lincoln Center Festival
Photo © 2009 The Cleveland Orchestra.
This summer's Lincoln Center Festival offer innovative approaches to familiar repertory, from the operas of Mozart to the massive symphonic structures of Anton Bruckner.

The Cleveland Orchestra begins its residency at the Festival with Bruckner (R)evolution, pairing the music of Anton Bruckner and John Adams. Franz Welser-Möst conducts. Mr. Welser-Möst has garnered praise for his Vienna and Cleveland performances of the Bruckner symphonies, and has shown himself at home in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

These four concerts will focus on the "Big Four": the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, and the unfinished Ninth. In an unconventional move, Mr. Welser-Möst will conduct the original, unrevised versions of the symphonies which are rarely heard on the New York concert stage.

With the exception of the Eighth, which is Bruckner's biggest symphonic work, each piece will be paired with a composition by minimalist superstar John Adams. Although it seems odd at first, this programming idea makes a lot of sense. It helps if you remember that Bruckner's music, with its stops, starts and repetitions, is in a way, minimalist.

The Danish maestro will also be on the podium for a rare New York appearance by the Royal Danish Orchestra, one of the oldest symphonic ensembles in Europe. Mr. Schønwandt will lead a program of works by Stravinsky and Carl Nielsen, the Danish composer whose symphonic music is finally gaining a foothold in the concert halls of New York.

The operatic offerings this July include A Magic Flute, a stripped-down adaptation of the Mozart classic, directed by Peter Brook. The Flute will be performed by just seven singers, with piano accompaniment, at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in the nearby John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Also, the Royal Danish Opera presents the New York premiere of Selma Jezková, an opera by Poul Ruders based on the film Dancer in the Dark. Michael Schønwandt conducts.

As usual, the Lincoln Center Festival offers dance, theater, and world music. But for coverage of those, you'll have to read a different blog.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.