Lieberson Piece At NY Philharmonic

phil6001Last night Jerry Wade and I went to the New York Philharmonic, to hear Peter Lieberson’s “The World in Flower,” a piece for Chorus, Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, and Orchestra. After its world premiere, two days earlier, the New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini called it “a rapturously lyrical work.” Referring to the many texts to which the music is set, he also remarked, “When you hear the chorus and singers working hard to deliver so many thoughts and words, the cantata begins to seem longer than its 45 minutes.” I don’t agree. I didn’t find the work over-extended at all. The gleam of the orchestra, the diction of the chorus, the passion of Russell Braun, the baritone, and the emotionality of Joyce DiDonato, the mezzo-soprano, who since the death of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Peter Lieberson’s wife, for whom the piece was written) has become my favorite American opera singer, all conspired to make the evening wonderful. Alan Gilbert, pictured here with Braun and DiDonato, conducted.

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