Yannick: It’s easier

Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, music director designate, cond., Matthias Goerne, baritone, Dorothea Roeschmann, soprano, Westminster Symphonic Choir, Joe Miller, director, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Review of  Nov. 4 m

L.A. has the Dude. Philadelphia has Yannick. “It’s easier to say” than Maestro Nezet –Seguin, a man in Verizon told his wife, unsurprised when Allison Vulgamore told the audience to be sure to return for the “talk back” with Yannick after the orchestra’s performance of the Brahms requiem. It was Friday afternoon and the players, the Westminster Symphonic Choir and soloists Matthias Goerne and Dorothea Roeschmann were clearing the stage. When the orchestra president settled into the Verizon Hall chat with Yannick, one puzzle was explained. Why the wonderful soprano had sung from high in the choral loft. The perch did not do her solo justice.

Yannick said the fifth movement has both ”ethereal and maternal qualities” since it evokes Brahms’ late mother. The baritone role is earth-bound, prophetic. Goerne stood close to the podium where he was entirely compelling.

As they did after last season’s Mozart Requiem, the president and the maestro sallied back and forth about A German Requiem, Op. 45. They took questions. No one mentioned the orchestra’s dire straits. Curioser and curiouser were the questions fielded as Yannick said he looks forward to more recordings and plans hard to conjure in the current fiscal crisis. Thank goodness the Philadelphians’ playing unlike the money continues to flow is full of bite and nuance. Joe Miller’s Westminster Choir is not yet Joe Flummerfelt’s tremendous instrument. The whispered seligs were blessed at their quietest but an underlying thinness kept the orchestra the master when these forces should be equal. Goerne’s vocals were the ones to savor, emotive bursts of wisdom and consolation. The gem of Roeschmann’s soprano needs a better setting.

Mozart’s great Symphony in G Minor, No 40, K. 550 opened with its engaging lulls and repetitions. On Thursday we have Yannick’s The Pines of Rome. A tough act to follow after Maestro Muti’s.  

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