Old and New Music Coming to Lincoln Center

Mostly Mozart Festival
By Barry Bassis
Barry Bassis
Barry Bassis
Barry has been a music, theater, and travel writer for over a decade for various publications, including Epoch Times. He is a voting member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle, two organizations of theater critics that give awards at the end of each season. He has also been a member of NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association)
August 8, 2013 Updated: August 8, 2013

Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival has started, and it’s on until Aug. 24.

In addition to Mozart, there will be music by the three B’s, with a special emphasis on Beethoven, as well as a number of new works. Credit goes to artistic director Jane Moss and conductor Louis Langrée, the festival’s music director, for coming up with an intriguing series of concerts.

‘Le nozze di Figaro’

Two years ago, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, under its conductor Iván Fischer, presented a highly praised staged concert of “Don Giovanni.” This summer, the Orchestra and conductor return on Aug. 11, 13, and 15 with a staged concert of Mozart’s comic opera “Le nozze di Figaro” (“The Marriage of Figaro”).

The cast includes Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Figaro), Laura Tatulescu (Susanna), Roman Trekel (Count Almaviva), Miah Persson (Countess Almaviva), and Ann Murray (Marcellina).

Other Festival Offerings

The Festival features concerts large and small. One series in the latter category is dubbed “A Little Night Music” and presents intimate performances starting at 10 p.m. in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, where the audience is seated at cocktail tables.

Thus, you can see violinist Isabelle Faust performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, “Turkish,” in a program with Beethoven’s Overture to “The Ruins of Athens” and the monumental Symphony No. 5 on Aug. 9 and 10. Later, on the 10th, she performs an all-Bach late-night recital at the Kaplan Penthouse.

David Afkham will conduct Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello, featuring violinist Vadim Repin and cellist Truls Mørk, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, on Aug. 16 and 17,.

On Aug. 13 and 14 at Avery Fisher Hall, conductor Gianandrea Noseda will lead a program of Beethoven Symphony No. 2 and Rossini’s “Stabat mater” with soprano Maria Agresta, mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona, tenor Gregory Kunde, and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelson.

Violinist Joshua Bell will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Aug. 20 and 21, with Louis Langrée conducting.

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will perform an all-Handel program, featuring conductor Laurence Cummings, and mezzo-sopranos Renata Pokupic and Anna Stéphany on Aug. 22. The London-based group will be paying tribute to the late American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

The Emerson String Quartet

Recently, I have been listening to the Emerson String Quartet’s latest superb recording, “Journeys,” which pairs two works from the 1890s, “Souvenir de Florence” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and “Verklärte Nacht” (“Transfigured Night”) by Arnold Schönberg.

Since these are sextets, the Quartet is joined by violist Paul Neubauer and cellist Colin Carr. Though composed only nine years apart, the first seems to look back to the romantic 19th century and the second looks forward to the neurotic 20th century. The Tchaikovsky piece is melodic, with a distinctly Russian folk music flavor.

The title refers to the fact that the music was composed in Florence and not that the composer was trying to evoke the city.

The Schönberg work was inspired by a poem in which a woman confesses to her lover that she is pregnant by another man. As they walk in the moonlit night, he forgives her.

The Emerson String Quartet will be performing all three Beethoven “Razumovsky” String Quartets on Aug. 19 at Alice Tully Hall, with a new member, cellist Paul Watkins. His predecessor, David Finckel, is on the recording.

The International Contemporary Ensemble

International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will celebrate its 10th anniversary as an ensemble by presenting 10 premieres by 10 New York composers.

All the ICE concerts will take place at the intimate Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center’s Samuel B. and David Rose Building.

The works will include a new chamber opera by David Lang as well as works by George Lewis, Matthias Pintscher, Phyllis Chen, Nathan Davis, Carla Kihlstedt, Felipe Lara, Maria Stankova and Tyshawn Sorey. Lewis, Sorey, and Kihlstedt will also appear as featured performers.

Besides Music

In addition to the concerts, Mostly Mozart will present a number of lectures and panel discussions at the Kaplan Penthouse.

There will also be a film, “In Search of Beethoven,” shown on Aug. 10 at the Walter Reade Theater. The film contains interviews with such eminent musicians as Emanuel Ax, Hélène Grimaud, and Louis Langrée. Following the screening, Phil Grabsky (the director of the film) will lead a discussion with the audience.

Tickets for Mostly Mozart Festival 2013 can be purchased online at MostlyMozart.org, by phone via CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, or by visiting the Avery Fisher Hall or Alice Tully Hall box offices at Broadway and 65th St.

For a Mostly Mozart brochure, call 212-875-5766.

Barry Bassis
Barry Bassis
Barry has been a music, theater, and travel writer for over a decade for various publications, including Epoch Times. He is a voting member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle, two organizations of theater critics that give awards at the end of each season. He has also been a member of NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association)