23 April 2024
Entertainment Music

Evaluation: Two Electrical Debuts on the New York Philharmonic

At a time when many orchestras are counting on entrenched repertoire and beloved artists to shore up their dwindling audiences, the New York Philharmonic on Thursday night time supplied three thrilling new views — two from youthful, feminine performers making their Philharmonic debuts, the third a world premiere.

One of many debuting artists was the dynamic conductor Elim Chan. Born in Hong Kong, skilled in the US and already a sensation in Europe, Chan walked to the rostrum with confidence. Her bodily ease was justified: She confirmed as much as her first gig with the Philharmonic totally able to harness its forces.

She opened this system with the string orchestra model of “Pisachi,” commissioned by the Philharmonic from the Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate. Initially written for the string quartet Ethel, “Pisachi” (pronounced “pih-SAH-chee”) pays homage to the desert panorama of the Southwest and the music of the Hopi and Pueblo peoples.

“Pisachi” alternates between hushed, singing harmonics and piquant rhythms painted in impassioned tremolos and spiky pizzicatos. Tate’s items for texture and shade are intensely rendered in Ethel’s feisty 2015 recording; the Philharmonic’s model was plusher. Nonetheless, Chan drew out all of Tate’s biting phrases; conducting with simply her arms, her fingers fluttered within the air.

Chan was then joined by the Argentine cellist Sol Gabetta, additionally making her Philharmonic debut, in Bohuslav Martinu’s First Cello Concerto — sufficient of a rarity that it’d as nicely be one other piece of latest music. (The Philharmonic final carried out it in 1976.)

The piece’s total impact is extra of an exhilarating, virtuosic solo than a concerto, regardless of the orchestra’s swish accompaniment. Maybe that’s why orchestras are loath to program it regardless of some pretty moments, together with a hauntingly somber duet between the soloist and the principal violist (Cynthia Phelps).

Gabetta made her presence recognized instantly with candy swagger: Anticipating her entrance within the opening motion, she swayed in her chair and stamped her toes because the orchestra performed. She introduced the playful dexterity of a bebop artist to the outer actions, and carried the legato sections with silky smoothness. And her loose-limbed phrasing was on show in her uncommon encore, the “Flamenco” from the Spanish composer Rogelio Huguet y Tagell’s Suite Espagnole No. 1.

The winds and brass lastly went full throttle in Rimsky-Korsakov’s ever-popular “Scheherazade.” (It’s the piece that Chan led to win the Donatella Flick Conducting Competitors in 2014; she was the primary — and nonetheless solely — lady to get the prize.) Chan, who by now had picked up a baton, dove in with apparent relish.

The Philharmonic’s concertmaster, Frank Huang, depicted the character of the grasp storyteller Scheherazade in a sequence of solos that have been as jazzily unfettered as Gabetta’s had been. Because the Rimsky-Korsakov totally unfolded, it was clear that the empathic Chan trusted numerous Philharmonic part leaders to take their time with their solos, like a blinding flip by the principal bassoonist Judith LeClair.

Even with a baton in hand, Chan by no means deserted her fingers as her principal instruments: Her stick was merely an appendage. At each level, she urged the orchestra to dig deeper into the rating technically and emotionally, and so they responded with equal verve and appreciation.

New York Philharmonic

This program repeats via Saturday at David Geffen Corridor, Manhattan; nyphil.org.