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The "Fountain of Youth" Springs Forth from Carnegie Hall

Yuja Wang on piano with the New World Symphony, photo by Richard Termine
A terrific season at Carnegie Hall continued most memorably on the evening of Wednesday, May 1st, with the exciting appearance of the accomplished young musicians of the New World Symphony under the illustrious direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
The program began thrillingly with the New York premiere of Julia Wolfe’s impressive, percussive and arresting Fountain of Youth, co-commissioned by this ensemble along with Carnegie Hall. The piece marvelously sustained interest across its full twenty-minute length, proving to be one of the most enjoyable new orchestral works of recent years.
The immensely popular, extraordinary virtuoso Yuja Wang, looking characteristically stunning in a sexy, sparkling green gown, then took the stage as soloist for a dazzling performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s quirkily brilliant Piano Concerto No. 5. The exuberant initial movement cleverly contrasted with the more eccentric second. The ensuing Toccata was requisitely energetic. Most enchanting was the magnificent Larghetto, while the finale recaptured the ebullience of the remarkable opening. After an enthusiastic ovation, Tilson Thomas introduced a superb encore, a jazzy composition of his own for solo piano and dedicated to Wang—entitled You Come Here Often?—which opus she executed with breath taking éclat.
The second half of the program was also superlative, devoted to an excellent account of Hector Berlioz’s perennial masterwork, Symphonie fantastique. In the first movement, the artists achieved the necessary, Romantic intensity,precedingan entrancing rendition of the second-movement Waltz. The following Scene in the Fields was unusually lucid, leading into the enthralling March to the Scaffold. The work concluded with a mesmerizing, vertiginous realization of the stunning Witches’ Sabbath. Tremendous applause elicited another wonderful encore, Richard Wagner’s sublime Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin—a perfect ending to a great concert.

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