New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra
Guerguan Tsenov, Guest Conductor
Gabrielius Alekna, Piano
Egmont Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Variations on a Theme by Haydn by Johannes Brahms
“Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 by Beethoven
Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
NY, NY 10025
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 7, 2011
Egmont Overture, op. 84, by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, op. 56a, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major (“Emperor”), op.73 by Beethoven
This was my first experience with New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, and their sound was rich and robust. I had been invited by tonight’s piano soloist, Gabrielius Alekna, from Lithuania, whom I had heard some years ago, when he performed in a piano showroom. I remembered his impassioned style and technical keyboard feats, and tonight I was not disappointed. He was featured as piano soloist in the Beethoven Emperor Piano Concerto, and his audience accolades were as vigorous as his artistry. The Concerto included three movements, “Allegro”, “Adagio un poco mosso”, and “Rondo-Allegro”. The first was filled with visceral orchestral momentum, but, when Mr. Alekna was showcased, the Orchestra fell quiet during his burst of dynamics. The second was elegant and effervescent, with refined and reverent piano solos. Mr. Alekna displayed superb mastery of this renowned Concerto. The Orchestra’s repetitive refrains were sumptuous. In the third movement finale, introduced seamlessly from the second, there were hypnotic, scintillating passages, as piano and Orchestra mostly merged as one, with seemingly effortless animation.
The Egmont Overture, first on tonight’s program, began with bright amplitude, tonal fireworks, and regal ornamentations. For me, it was not only an introduction to the Orchestra, but also an introduction to a Conductor on the rise, Guerguan Tsenov, from Bulgaria. He uses no baton, but rather uses his arms and hands in spirited meaningfulness, capturing the attention of his musicians and his audience. The Variations on a Theme by Haydn included seven Variations plus a finale, such as “Andante con moto” and “Grazioso”. This music was energized and sparkling, with swirling strings in precise timing. In fact, each musician among these “professional, semi-professional, and accomplished avocational players” was completely engaged in the moment, a testimony to this 35 year-old Orchestra. Kudos to New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Guerguan Tsenov, and Gabrielius Alekna.