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April 2   -   Guardian

New York Philharmonic/Gilbert review – a measured approach to heavenly visions

Barbican, London Departing musical director Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic through the icy waters of Bartók to the luminous afterlife in Mahler’s Fourth

This concert marked the opening of the New York Philharmonic’s weekend residency at the Barbican, in a season celebrating the ensemble’s 175th anniversary, and which is also its last with current music director Alan Gilbert. There were two works on the programme: Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta in the first half, and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in the second.

From the opening fugue of the Bartók, whose long, slow string lines were carefully measured out by conductor and players, tonal qualities seemed uppermost in Gilbert’s approach. And as the orchestra charted a steady path through its translucent and even icy textures, the piece’s inner mechanisms were revealed in music-making that insistently shone lights into the very heart of its darkness.

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