Under the baton of its musical director Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic makes its first appearance ever as a guest of the brand new Philharmonie de Paris. Together with the highly-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, they perform works by Salonen, Ravel and Strauss.
One of the world's leading orchestras, the New York Philharmonic has been conducted by such mythical figures as Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez and Kurt Masur. Since 2009, Alan Gilbert has widely contributed to opening the enrichment of the New York Philharmonic's repertoire to more contemporary works. On this point, the piece that opens this concert, Nyx, was composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen. A highly renowned conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen also dedicates his life to composition; he has in particular composed symphonic works and concertos that are marked by "melodic innovations". Joyce DiDonato, "nothing less than [a] 24-carat gold" voice, according to the Times, is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after mezzo-sopranos of our times. For this concert, she sings a gorgeous Shéhérazade in Ravel's eponymous work.
For the opening of the concert, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Maurice Ravel lead us to the ancient mythologies and in an imaginary world. Composed in 2010, the music of Salonen's Nyx reminds us of the story of the Goddess of the Night, one of the first goddesses who appeared after the Chaos. The music is like a reflection of this imperceptible goddess, qualified by Salonen as "nebulous". With Shéhérazade then, Ravel reminds us of the inspiration he founded in the East's charms. Here we have collected some verses of this work for voice and orchestra, inspired by the poem written by Tristan Klingsor:
"Asia, Asia, Asia!
Olden and wondrous land of tales dreamt by nursemaids,
Where sleeping fantasy lies like an empress fair
In her forest overflowing with mystery.
Asia... I should like to set out aboard the sea-bound schooner
Which is rocking this evening in port,
Mysterious and solitary;
And which at last unfurls its fluttering sails of purple
Like an immense night bird aloft in the golden sky."
Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales, which orchestral version was published in 1912, are marked by an impressionist musicality. The ternary rhythm of the waltz is here remarkably developed into several variations, sometimes in a dancing-like movement, sometimes in an enchanting atmosphere. But above all, the lightness of the musical motives and the very large range of dreamlike colours result in a fairylike work.
The Suite for orchestra taken from Strauss's original opera Der Rosenkavalier closes this concert. It was premiered at the Vienna Konzerthaus-Saal on September 28th 1944 and the New York Philharmonic performed it for the first time under Artur Rodzinski's baton a few days later.
Joyce DiDonato is wearing a dress by Vivienne Westwood.
Joyce DiDonato appears courtesy of Erato / Warner Classics.
Credit Suisse is the Exclusive Tour Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
A concert for New York with the New York Philharmonic
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir
Orchestre de Paris
Ensemble orchestral de Paris, featuring Ruth Ziesak, Joyce DiDonato, Paul Agnew and Dietrich Henschel
Waldbühne 2006: Sheherazade, An Oriental Night – Berliner Philharmoniker