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The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Mahler & More at Carnegie Hall

Michael Tilson Thomas, photo by Richard Termine
A superb season at Carnegie Hall continued magnificently on the evening of Wednesday, March 6th, with the extraordinary appearance of the terrific musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the illustrious direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, in the last of four concerts in close succession.
The program was devoted to a masterly reading of Gustav Mahler’s incomparable, valedictory Symphony No. 9—a not unexpected selection given that Tilson Thomas is probably the conductor of the current moment who is most prominent as an interpreter of the composer, alongside Simon Rattle. The concert proper was preceded by an informative talk given by Marilyn McCoy, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University and Barnard College.
The haunting first movement was at times ominous, but punctuated by appropriately tumultuous episodes. In the ensuing scherzo, sprightliness was successfully fused with irony. More rambunctious was the eccentric but dynamic Rondo-Burlesque, which had a gorgeous, song-like interlude in the Trio. The rapturous and mysterious Adagio, which closed the work, issued into an ethereal, but powerfully affirmative, coda. The artists received an enthusiastic ovation. I look forward to the next local appearance of these outstanding musicians.

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