The reopening of Carnegie Hall in New York City Thursday night glowed with joy.
New York Times classical music critic Anthony Tommasini's luminous review captured the elation of the venerable concert hall's reopening after a 572-day closure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tommasini's article was a gift for the newspaper's readers after the pandemic's shutdown of performances had sidelined his concert reviews. Although Tommasini's been writing album reviews and personal essays, his concert pieces have been sorely missed by fans like me.
Showing that he remains a master of the traditional on-deadline newspaper review, Tommasini gave a nuanced assessment of the Carnegie Hall's reopening performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by conductor Yannick Nezet-Sequin.
Composer Valerie Coleman's "7 O'Clock Shout," a celebration of New York City's resilience during the pandemic, began the concert. The brief piece is based on the spontaneous cheers that greeted the city's health care workers at 7 o'clock during the pandemic.
The orchestra under Nezet-Sequin's direction also performed Leonard Bernstein's overture to "Candide," Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, Iman Habibi's "Jeder Baum spricht" ("Every Tree Speaks") and Beehthoven's Fifth Symphony. Renowned pianist Yuja Wang performed the Shostakovich concerto.
"....Both the choice of works and the vibrant music-making went deeper into questions of classical music's relevance and renewal than I had expected," Tommasini concluded.
I'm grateful that New York's theaters and concert halls have returned. I'm also glad that Tommasini and other writers will be there too.