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Review: A Conductor’s Exciting Return to the New York Philharmonic

In Debussy’s “La Mer,” you'll nearly pay attention the heaving sea speckled with daybreak daylight, the dancing waves, the gusty winds.

That’s unquestionably the painterly, descriptive manner audiences are incessantly inspired to recall to mind this repertory staple. But on Thursday at David Geffen Hall, the Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki led the New York Philharmonic in a efficiency of the paintings that used to be so pressing, detailed and thrilling that I forgot all about cresting sea and splashing waves. I used to be, as an alternative, engrossed through the manner Ms. Malkki introduced out the colours, intricacies and radicalism of “La Mer” (1905), which got here throughout as Debussy’s thought for another more or less 20th-century symphony.

Ms. Malkki, making her go back to the Philharmonic after a belated debut in 2015, unquestionably drew out the atmospheric sonorities in the subdued track the opens the piece, with the softly rumbling timpani, flecks of harp, heaving low strings and woodwind strains that appear to peek thru the mist. But I used to be extra struck through the extraordinary readability of the textures, the cautious voicing of chords to spotlight stinky harmonies. In the ultimate motion, Ms. Malkki deftly balanced the track’s tumultuous frenzy with symphonic majesty, using headlong to the brassy climax with no hint of cinematic extra.

She preceded “La Mer” with the New York live performance premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Helix,” from 2005, which the composer has described as a nine-minute accelerando. The track begins tentatively, with halting chords, eerie blips and a unusual, tolling bass riff. Moment through second, this darkish track beneficial properties depth and quantity, as jerky rhythms escape and fragments check out to coalesce into words. It hurtles to a dizzying, blazing ultimate stretch, performed to the hilt right here.

The live performance started with a vanishingly uncommon sight at the Philharmonic: two girls showing in combination as concerto soloist and conductor. The good Latvian violinist Baiba Skride gave a powerful account of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Her unique sound — full-bodied and opulent however by no means pressured — perfectly suited the passages of melting lyricism and the Aristocracy. She introduced comfortable grace to the rueful sluggish motion. And, with the alert Ms. Malkki there to stay the orchestra proper along with her, Ms. Skride tore thru the breathless finale with impetuous power and bold precision.

This season Ms. Malkki started her tenure as primary visitor conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. If best she had that publish right here in New York.

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