Fleiming Sings Messiaen at NY Phil Opening Gala Sept. 16; Baldwin Hosts

Classic Arts Features   Fleiming Sings Messiaen at NY Phil Opening Gala Sept. 16; Baldwin Hosts
Alan Gilbert takes the reins as 25th music director of the New York Philharmonic when he conducts the Opening Night Gala Concert Sept. 16 at 7:30 PM. The performance will be broadcast on nationwide PBS affiliates, hosted by Alec Baldwin.


The performance will be projected live in Lincoln Center and broadcast nationally on a tape-delayed basis on at 8:00 p.m. [check local listings]. Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin will host the broadcast.

The Philharmonic will offer a free dress rehearsal on performance day at 9:45 a.m., with Mr. Gilbert conducting the evening's program:

- The world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg's EXPO
- Messiaen's song cycle, Pomes pour Mi, performed by soprano Ren_e Fleming
- Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique

The dress rehearsal is offered to the public for the third consecutive year. General admission tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 8:00 that morning, on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza.


EXPO is a World Premiere Commission by Magnus Lindberg. Born in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Lindberg is noted for his richly intricate works for orchestra, and has been in the forefront of orchestral composition over the past decade, including the concert-opener Feria (1997); large-scale statements such as Fresco (1997), Cantigas (1999), Concerto for Orchestra (2002 _03), and Sculpture (2005); and concertos for cello (1999), clarinet (2002), and violin (2006). He is also a pianist and percussionist. Of EXPO, he says: "The title is self-explanatory; it's the exposition of Alan [Gilbert's] season. I work with extremely strong contrasts between super-fast and super-slow music, and then a strange amalgam between these poles. It's a piece built on qualities I find so gorgeous in Alan's way of making music: absolute technical and physical straightness : no mystery around the rational part of it : and then on top of that the highly irrational and mysterious part of how you actually put music together."

In 1932 Olivier Messiaen married Claire Delbos, a composer and violinist. Messiaen's pet name for his wife was "Mi" : the solfge syllable used in France to denote the note "E," the pitch of the highest string on the violin, Delbos's instrument. Messiaen's passionate song cycle Pomes pour Mi ("Poems for 'Mi'"), composed in 1936 and orchestrated in 1937, is a devotional celebration of love and marriage. The texts, by the composer, are both universal and intensely personal, and the music is characteristically diverse, incorporating moments of abstract complexity as well as rapturous tonality. The cycle is a glorious and moving example of Messiaen's unique art. This will be the first New York Philharmonic performance of the work.

Hector Berlioz, disappointed in his infatuation with an actress he had admired from afar (and whom he would, in fact, eventually marry), poured into five movements a Faustian tale depicting the tortured, opium-induced dreams of a young man, which unhappily ends with a trip to the gallows and infernal horrors. The resulting Symphonie fantastique was composed in 1830, only three years after the death of Beethoven, but it was decades ahead of its time in terms of harmonic language, orchestration, descriptive ideas, and melodic treatment. The New York Philharmonic's January 1866 performance of the work, led by Carl Bergmann, was the first of seven American premieres of Berlioz works the Orchestra would ultimately present. It was last performed in July 2009, at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, led by Alan Gilbert.

The black-tie Opening Night Gala will include a pre-concert reception from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.; the concert; and a dinner immediately following the concert.


Opening Day Details
Avery Fisher Hall
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free Dress Rehearsal : 9:45 a.m.
Free. Tickets required and available starting at 8:00 a.m.

Opening Night Gala Concert : 7:30 p.m.
Live projection onto Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza : 7:30 p.m.
Live From Lincoln Center broadcast on PBS stations Alec Baldwin, host : 8:00 p.m.
[check local listings] : Simulcast on 96.3 FM WQXR

Alan Gilbert, conductor
Ren_e Fleming, soprano

LINDBERG - EXPO (World Premiere)
MESSIAEN - Pomes pour Mi
BERLIOZ - Symphonie fantastique

Tickets for the 2009 _10 season go on sale August 23.Single tickets for the Opening Night concert, priced $71-$242, may be purchased online at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, by phone at (212) 875-5656. or online at nyphil.org.

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