MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Starting the Week at Bravo! Vail Music Festival

Photo (c) Jorge Gustavo Elias

Just some quick first impressions on my first trip to the Bravo!Vail Music Festival. It began Saturday with the second of four concerts of the New York Philharmonic‘s 2022 residency here. I admired Conrad Tao’s deeply personal and inventive account of Mozart’s G major Concerto K. 453 (including his own cadenzas) and a stirring Dvořák Seventh, all prefaced by Nina Shenkhar’s new “Lumina,” an exquisite study of light and shade.

The program was led by Jaap van Zweden, who returned last night with a knockout interpretation of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. Sunday’s moody weather provided a fitting backdrop and also made me wonder whether we would have thunder underlining the hammer strokes — or even adding an extra one. But the skies behaved, and in any case all ears were intent on every gesture coming from the crowded Ford Amphitheater stage. Van Zweden’s laser focus drew remarkably tight, driven playing from the musicians but also left plenty of room for expressive and impactful solos. Mahler’s uncompromising symphonic juggernaut had its devastating effect but paradoxically left the audience exuberant, even overjoyed — an aftereffect of catharsis?

Filed under: Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Mahler, music festivals


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