The New York Philharmonic's 170th subscription season will conclude with Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, leading the Orchestra in an all- Mozart program: the Mass in C minor, Great, and Piano Concerto No. 22, featuring Emanuel Ax - Honorary Member of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York - as soloist, tonight, June 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. The C-minor Mass will feature performances by soprano Jennifer Zetlan (making her New York Philharmonic debut), mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenor Paul Appleby (also making his Philharmonic debut), baritone Joshua Hopkins, and the New York Choral Artists, directed by Joseph Flummerfelt. Ms. Zetlan, Ms. Johnson Cano, Mr. Appleby, and Mr. Hopkins will join Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic to perform the C-minor Mass at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival July 27.
Alan Gilbert notes that Mozart did not include much instruction in his scores, leaving interpretive decisions up to the musicians and conductors performing his works. Similarly, masses are typically based on the same text but leave most other choices up to the composer. "I've been very proud of what the Orchestra and I have achieved with Mozart," he said. "I'm happy to continue this endless process because Mozart never gives in; there's always more to look for."
The Music Director adds: "The fact that Mozart wrote this Mass in a minor key is already an important choice; it creates an inherent struggle that has to do with finding light and peace through the use of a chromatic and difficult tonality. In assessing this work, it's really not important to know whether Mozart was a believer or not. How he wanted people to react to the text is fascinating and particularly powerful in this piece. It's one of those iconic masterpieces that really makes you happy to be a musician."
The program opens with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22, with Emanuel Ax as soloist. Mr. Ax was named an Honorary Member of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York in April 2011, on the occasion of his 100th performance with the Orchestra. This rare distinction honors Mr. Ax's longstanding and close collaboration with the Philharmonic which began with his debut in 1977, has continued with frequent appearances in New York and collaborations on tour, and extends to next season, when he will serve as The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic.
"I have had the pleasure of performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 with Manny Ax before, and I felt that it was one of the greatest Mozart performances I had ever been part of," said Alan Gilbert. "When he performs, the music flows effortlessly and sincerely, without interpretative agenda; no obvious points are made, but the music feels freshly inspired and deeply considered at the same time. Manny simply feels the music naturally and is able to bring it to life so that it sounds inevitable."
Related Events - Pre-Concert Talks
Joelle Wallach will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple concerts, students, and groups. They take place one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656.
On the Music: The New York Philharmonic Podcast
New York Philharmonic Audio Producer Mark Travis is the producer and host of this program. Formerly with the WFMT Radio Network, he is the producer of the 52- week-per-year nationally and internationally syndicated radio series, The New York Philharmonic This Week. These award-winning previews of upcoming programs - through musical selections as well as interviews with guest artists, conductors, and Orchestra musicians - are available at nyphil.org/podcast and from iTunes.