In Seven Days

My birthday present from F. included tickets to the NY Phil’s January 8 performance. Headlining the program was “In Seven Days,” a concerto for piano with moving image by Thomas Adés, with images by Tal Rosner.

The venerable Phil is breaking new ground. In this half-hour work the orchestra is backed up by a stage-wide projection screen, with abstract computer-generated imagery to represent the seven days of creation.

This is something to watch for in your neighborhood. The music was brilliant, accessible yet stimulating to this former music theory major. We could have watched/listened to it again.

A followup email from the Phil tells me:

  • Our radio broadcast of the concert will air in New York on Thursday, January 20 at 9:00 p.m. on WQXR 105.9. If you live outside the New York area, click on the link below to find a station near you.
  • You can also listen to the broadcast online at our Website,, from January 21-February 4. Just click on the “Watch and Listen” link on the home page.

It would be nice if the video were included somehow, but not essential.

Also on the program, a deeply moving rendition of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with Thomas Hampson as the soloist. The text comes from poems by Ruckert, written after the death of his two daughters. Eerily, Mahler composed his lieder before the fatal illnesses of his own children.

I often think they’ve only gone out,
Soon they will be home again.
It’s a lovely day, oh don’t be anxious,
They’re only out taking a long walk.

Of course, they’ve only gone out,
And will come home now.
Don’t be anxious, it’s a beautiful day,
They’ve only gone out walking to yonder heights.

They’ve only gone off ahead of us,
And don’t want to come home again.
We’ll catch up with them on yonder heights,
In the sunchine, it’s a beautiful day!

The curtain-raiser was Mozart’s 40th Symphony. A long time since I’d listened to this, and I was reminded of what I’d missed — brilliant development, wonderful counterpoint (did I hear some echoes of it in the Adés?). Conductor Alan Gilbert brought wonderfully long phrasing from the orchestra, tempering the inner complexity with lyricism.

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