Wednesday, December 7, 2011

London to New York

I have come into New York City for several days, mainly to hear Yevgeny Kutik in his Alice Tully Hall debut this evening with the Riverside Symphony.

Last night I saw Noel Coward's Private Lives  at the Music Box Theatre. Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross played the two main roles, Amanda and Elyot, very well indeed. I have seen many productions of this play, including one where, for some reason, the locale was changed to South America and everyone spoke with a Spanish accent. That made no sense whatsoever since all the humor is a British as Paddy's pig. 

Paul Gross - 200 x 255
Last night's production also featured Anna Madeley and Simon Paisley Day as Sybil and Victor and Caroline Lena Olsson as Louise, the maid.

Act one is definitely the best part of the play when Amanda and Elyot, having been divorced, find themselves in adjoining suites on their honeymoons with their new spouses. Acts two and three get a bit langweilich  with the repeated fighting and making up. But the dialogue, as always with Coward, is brisk and funny.

Returning to New York after ten days in London is an interesting experiece. In comparing the two cities, the whole tempo of life is different. The British are more laid back in their activities around town. In New York, the fact that Broadway, from 47th street to Times Square, is now a pedestrian mall, has made that area even more frantic than ever. Groups of tourists simply stand in one place, making it next to impossible to walk in a straight line.  And of course several bus routes have had to change. My old faithful, the 104, now goes down Seventh Avenue from 59th street south instead of Broadway.

Now to Yevgeny Kutik, whose new album, Sounds of Defiance, is available at

Tonight Yevgeny outdid himself, playing the recently discovered Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in D minor.Yehudi Menuhin was responsible for having rescued it from obscurity. Mendelssohn was thirteen years old at the time. This is the work of a very young genius. And it was performed by a very young genius. I have been following Yevgeny's career ever since he was the first winner of the Ferris Burtis Music Foundation Scholarship eight years ago. He blew us away then and he continues to do so now, especially tonight. His very special combination of technique, musicianship, and passion, make him the violinist to watch in this decade. I have heard them all, from Heifitz on, and he is a major talent. Bravo, Maestro!

The program opened with Antiphonies by Donald Crockett, a New York City premiere. After a frantic first movement it settled down into a decent piece. It is written in concerto grosso style, with small groups alternating with full orchestra.

The concert ended with Haydn's lively Symphony #83 in G minor. The Riverside Symphony is a fine ensemble and the conductor, George Rothman, is splendid.