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Juilliard Orchestra Unleashes (Dance of) Vengeance Upon Lincoln Center

Jeffrey Milarsky Conducts Juilliard Orchestra

At Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, on the evening of Monday, November 21st, I had the pleasure to attend an excellent concert featuring the musicians of the Juilliard Orchestra—playing at their near best—under the direction of Jeffrey Milarsky.

The program opened brilliantly with a marvelous performance of Samuel Barber’s outstanding, rarely heard Medea’s Dance of Vengeance from 1953. A very promising young soloist, Amelia Krinke, then entered the stage for an admirable rendition of the late Juilliard faculty member Michael White’s underrated Concerto for Viola and Orchestra of 1994. The first movement is—after an Adagio introduction—playful and energetic if somewhat spiky and even unsettling. The ensuing Adagio is highly introspective and solemn, even disquieting, while thefinaleis dynamic with some quieter passages.

The highlight of the event, however, was the second half of the concert: a superb reading of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s glorious “Pathétique” Symphony, possibly the composer’s most personal work. The first movement—after a despondentAdagiointroduction—is exciting and passionate and then longingly ardent and turbulent and the Allegro con grazia that follows is charming and waltz-like but not without Romantic intensity. The ultimately thrilling third movement is a captivating march while the concluding, extraordinary Finale is powerfully tragic. The artists received an enthusiastic ovation.

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