After having read on Facebook that Lorin Maazel was thrilled to be returning to the New York Philharmonic for a week of concerts, I was excited to see this conductor who had served the Philharmonic as Music Director for some seven seasons. Maazel is impressive (no music), engaging and brings the best out in musicians who clearly appreciate his talent and collaboration.
This evening’s concert featured two large works of the Romantic repertoire – Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43. I have to admit, I’ve never been crazy about Brahms, and listening to the first piano concerto really didn’t change that despite the skill of Russian pianist Yefim Bronfman. The Sibelius was interesting with its bold final movement.
I did learn that Sibelius lived a rather long life – 92 years. Much of the latter part was not spent composing, but rather drinking. Although he lived well into the 20th century, his music is clearly grounded in the Romantic period.