Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published May 8, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Page modified May 8, 2014 at 2:52 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

What the critics said about Seattle Symphony at Carnegie Hall

A roundup of reviews from Seattle Symphony’s recent performance of John Luther Adams’ “Become Ocean” and other works at New York’s Carnegie Hall.


advertising

Seattle Symphony, led by music director Ludovic Morlot, made a splash last week at New York’s Carnegie Hall with a performance of “Become Ocean” — a piece the orchestra commissioned from Alaska composer John Luther Adams, which recently won a Pulitzer Prize.

New York music critics hailed “Become Ocean” as a major new composition and also, generally, praised the orchestra’s performance. Here are excerpts from reviews of the May 6 program, which also featured works by Claude Debussy and Edgard Varèse.

“The audience at Carnegie Hall seemed very ready to become ocean with Mr. Adams, who, amazing as it seems, was attending his first concert at Carnegie Hall. The performance Mr. Morlot coaxed from his players was rich with shimmering colors and tremulous energy. The engagement of the musicians with this work, and with Mr. Morlot, came through in every moment.” — Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“[Adams] has produced a kind of tidal music that I have never heard before [ ...] In a sense, very little happens over the course of the score’s 40-minute span, which rests on a symmetrical structure, a giant palindrome. Time slows, the pulse liquefies and the disoriented ear begins to drift. Yet the music feels simultaneously slow and hurtling, like a backward, sped-up film of continents emerging from primordial waters.” — Justin Davidson, Vulture

“While the Seattle Symphony is a fine orchestra, they just did not have the sonic weight to fully realize Debussy’s ‘La Mer.’ As multidimensional as they were in ‘Become Ocean,’ the ensemble sounded surprisingly thin and light while playing the Debussy, the orchestral blend and grand climaxes two-dimensional. Perhaps the cause was nerves: The opening phrases sounded stiff, while in contrast the encore — ‘Fêtes’ from Nocturnes — was relaxed, expressive and totally satisfying.” — George Grella, New York Classical Review

“The orchestra on duty [ ... ] was the Seattle Symphony, founded in 1903 and currently led by a remarkably energetic and authoritative music director from France, Ludovic Morlot. [ ... It] was a wonderful concert, imaginatively planned and brilliantly executed. Although the ambience may have been folksy casual, the repertory and performances reflected rare sophistication.” —Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times

Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times features editor



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times Historical Archives

Browse our newspaper page archives from 1900-1984


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►