2020: concerts of the year

Once again, very little to talk about here, but two big NYC shows:

Dvořák 9 at NY Phil

Dudamel! What a guy. This one started with Ives and a contemporary piano concerto by Esteban Benzecry which was pretty good … but Dudamel leading an ultra-controlled romp through “From the New World” was a spectacle. There are obviously big tunes and big hits in that symphony, but Dudamel pulled out the harmony, the middle voices, and the little things, which just made the spotlight melodies better.

West Side Story

The Van Hove / De Keersmaeker production had some odd moments, and suffered a bit from the tunefulness of Bernstein’s score (e.g. “Jet Song”) not matching the deep-Queens grit of the staging. However! The dancing was fantastic, the cast got across the idea that these characters are teenagers making tragic choices, and most of the score still holds up – especially “Cool”, “America”, “Something’s Coming”, and the somehow still underrated tritone resolution in “Mariiiiiiiiaaa”.