“The New York Philharmonic’s concerts this week, conducted by Edward Gardner in his debut with the orchestra, project a delightful strain of perversity. Alongside a favorite of Mr. Gardner’s (Sibelius’s “Pohjola’s Daughter”), it juxtaposes a concerto-like work that isn’t a concerto (Debussy’s Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra) with a concerto that isn’t quite concerto-like (Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra), at least in the modern sense.

“But this program, however oddly conceived, was given a lovely first performance on Thursday at David Geffen Hall.

“Debussy, who showed little interest in conventional symphonic forms over his career, struck a glancing blow with his sizable Fantaisie (1889-90). With a bit more sustained pianistic display and a slightly greater sense of combat between pianist and orchestra, it could just as well have passed as a concerto.

“The composer, then in his late 20s, was evidently pleased with it, to judge from his tiff with the composer-conductor Vincent d’Indy, who had proposed performing only the first of its three movements. Debussy toyed with the piece for seven more years, but it remained unperformed at his death, just over 100 years ago.

“Leif Ove Andsnes, the Philharmonic’s artist in residence this season, played the work with easy virtuosity and panache. (His residency concludes next Wednesday with a solo recital at Geffen Hall.) As a Norwegian, he may have developed a particular affinity with the British Mr. Gardner, who has worked in Norway since 2015 as the music director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In any case, the partnership seemed complete.”

 

Source: New York Times

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