Tag Archives: www.nyphil.org

Excellence in Musical Performance Nurtures and Inspires

By now you all have a pretty good idea of how much I love good music.

I want you all to know that I do not write about every performance that I attend. I actually do spare you information about the so-so evenings when the best part of the event is my getting home to relax.

I think that I have been really lucky for the past few months because there have been so many performances that leave me thrilled.

Weeks later I recall the performances, one at a time,  and my heart just sings with excitement.  I feel such a wave of gratitude that I live in this amazing city and I am able to fill every cell of my being with celestial music reproduced right here on earth.

Last week, on November 29th, I experienced the magic of Jeffrey Kahane as both conductor and pianist/ harpsichordist with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.

The program was ideal for me-  Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Oboe, Violin and Strings, (with soloists Cheryl Staples on violin and Liang Wang on oboe) Mozart’s Symphony No. 33, and Beethoven’s piano Concerto No. 1 in C major.

It was fascinating watching Kahane simultaneously conduct and play either the piano or the harpsichord. But what was evident in every subtle movement of his body that he used to coordinate the rest of the orchestra,  was the integration of his body, mind, emotional and maybe even spiritual being.

One tiny nuance of  movement would perfectly describe the quality he was trying to elicit from the performers. He looked like he was dancing and weaving a tapestry of texture and variation.

The level of mastery, excellence and wholeness catalyzed wonderful performances by all of the musicians .  I could feel the quality of entrainment.

This level of musical conversation and entrainment amongst the performers reminds me of the listening that is essential in with all kinds of musicians, dancers, and all performers working together as a unit. This level of communication is what we all aspire to achieve and maintain in our life relationships.

I am reminded of the post I wrote  after I went to see  George Cables, Lewis Nash and Peter Washington at the Kitano Hotel in August 2011. https://merylchodoshweiss.com/2011/08/26/more-new-york-city-nightlife-more-jazz/If you can recall I linked that post to an eloquent post on psychotherapist Jeffery Levine’s blog where he discusses the kind of listening that the trio’s musical entrainment produced. I just re-read his article and it is relevant here as well.

Often I will experience wonderful conductors with the gifted New York Philharmonic, but it is not so often that the very best of that orchestra is something that I can tangibly feel.

Here are two  U-Tube items so you can see and hear the artists themselves discussing just what I have finished writing about!

This one is great because it picks up on the theme of musical communications and conversation.

As I watched  Kahane speaking about the Mozart symphony on this clip it  underscores what I had experienced at the performance.

Finally here is the New York Times review of the concert which gives further information about Kahane.


Koyaanisquatsi: Life out of Balance (1982)

I have been a fan of composer Phillip Glass’s work for more years than I can remember . I’ve had concert subscriptions to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, www.nyphil.org, for the past nine years and I’ve eagerly awaited a time when I would hear Glass’s work performed live.

On November 3rd, 2011 I had the good fortune to attend a screening of the 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. The score of the film was conducted by Michael Reisman and it was performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble, with the composer himself and the Collegiate Chorale.

I can still feel the exhilaration I felt that evening when I, along with all the other attendees in the  packed concert hall, was mesmerized by the images and the monumental scope , beauty and depth of the music.

There is nothing dated about the film that was revolutionary in the 1980’s. As the sub- title describes, the film depicts the sharp destructive  intersection of modern over-industrialization on nature and humanity.

In this, our time of chaos,  the earth is purging and healing itself and everyone’s lives are being altered by  sudden changes in all kinds of relationships and endeavors.

Being a part of this experience was particularly meaningful for me not only because of my own unexpected changes in my professional life, but also because the film documents “life out of balance” with such tremendous movement  and palpable heart centered energy.

At the end of the performance the entire audience rose out of their seats in every part of the concert hall. We were  shouting “Bravo” and clapping so that there was an almost deafening roar. I have never seen an entire audience at the Philharmonic entrained and so moved by any performance.  The energy continues to inspire and energize me almost a month later.

It was one of the most memorable events I have ever experienced.

Below is what the New York Philharmonic  website, www.nyphil.org, wrote about the performance before it occurred.

PHILIP GLASS (born 1937 in Baltimore, MD)
Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance (1982)

The 1982 documentary film Koyaanisqatsi (the Hopi word for “life out of balance”) is the first of a trilogy of films that deals with the relationships among humans, nature, and technology. It was directed by Godfrey Reggio, with cinematography by Ron Fricke. American composer Philip Glass created the haunting score, which won a Golden Globe award. Images and music combine to portray what has happened to our planet, as beautiful landscapes—lakes, canyons, clouds are intercut with shots of mines, atomic explosions, dams, crazy traffic on endless freeways, dynamiting of a building, television commercials, and people racing to and fro. Time-lapse photography intensifies the speed of modern life and its effects on nature. Its strong message is conveyed without dialogue or narration. Philip Glass collaborated with the director for three years, composing the music to fit the film, while the director cut the film to match the music. The longest section is entitled “The Grid,” with music and images racing at a breathtaking tempo. In the 80s Philip Glass and his Ensemble performed the score live in movie theaters as the film was being screened—as will be the case at these concerts. The New York Times called it “invigorating, often tremulously beautiful, and almost extraordinarily in synergy with the visions projected upon the screen…Reggio’s images haunt the viewer, accompanied by one of the most startling and original soundtracks ever written.” And Los Angeles Magazine raved “…A landmark film, KOYAANISQATSI grabs you almost instantly…Afterward, images flood your mind for days, for weeks…the images amaze us, but the staggering score by Glass guides us, giving the film a Wagnerian sense of apocalypse here and now.” It’s a unique opportunity to experience this iconic masterpiece, featuring the composer and the renowned Philip Glass Ensemble.

Lastly, here is a U Tube trailer of the film so you can sample a morsel.