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“Conductor Alan Gilbert proved to be one of the greatest assets of this performance. Well-known for his advocacy for contemporary works, Gilbert led Teatro alla Scala Chorus and Orchestra in a clear and confident reading. He never shied away from highlighting the 'film music' aspect of the score nor from milking the big moments while still supporting the singers. It was a night where everything fell into place, making it truly unforgettable. As it was my first time at La Scala, I was kinda hoping to see the famous La Scala 'reception'. However, with a performance this good, I guess nobody in the audience felt the need to find faults with it, and they cheered enthusiastically everyone on stage, including the production team.”

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E così sembra dire altro rispetto a una musica finissima, che la bachetta di Alan Gilbert equilibra tra graffio espressionista e delicata nostalgia” = “And so it seems to say other than a very fine music, that Alan Gilbert's baton balances between expressionist scratch and delicate nostalgia” Quello che ben merita i dodici minuti di applasui e invece la tensione con cui Gilbert e Vick intrecciano canto, recitazione e movimenti scenici.” = What deserves the twelve minutes of applause is the tension with which Gilbert and Vick intertwine singing, acting and scenic movements.”

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“Alan Gilbert ci regala una bella lettura di quest'opera, per altro mai rappresentata al Teatro all Scala: fantasiosa nell'estetismo, nell'erotismo come nell'evidente decadentismo e illustrata da una incessante tensione drammatica, che è poi il nodo gordiano di una valida resa teatrale.” = “Alan Gilbert gives us a beautiful reading of this work, never seen at the Scala Theater: imaginative in aestheticism, in eroticism as in the obvious decadentism and illustrated by an incessant dramatic tension, which is then the Gordian knot of a valid theatrical performance.”

“Trionfo finale! Senza altri ulteriori commenti se non spesi per invitare a vedere questo spettacolo bellissimo. Questa e la Scala che amiamo.” 

“Final triumph! Without further comments if not spent to invite to see this very beautiful show. This is the Scala we love.”

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“The poignant themes of Marietta’s and Fritz’s songs are never mere sound hedonism, but become components of a wise structure that conductor Alan Gilbert manages to keep in perfect balance, highlighting the qualities of a masterfully eclectic style and phantasmagorical orchestration with total confidence.”

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"Responsible for this is also conductor Gilbert, who will officially start his new job in Hamburg as successor to Thomas Hengelbrock at the beginning of the upcoming season. With this Grand Macabre he already arouses great expectations for his tenure - and anticipation of more extraordinary music theater in the Elbphilharmonie: Next year, the Staatsoper Hamburg will show there a production of Olivier Messiaen's 'Saint François d'Assise'."

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"For two great, intoxicating hours, the Great Hall of the Elbphilharmonie was transformed into an avant-garde arena with surround sound and all-round entertainment. A Dada-Verona, so self-evident and sure-footed, as if this room had been designed precisely for such madness...[A commemorative plaque should be put up, to point out] how sensational, fitting, courageous and important it was to perform this piece of art [at Elbphilharmonie].“

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"The new chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra presented on Friday his first season, in which he will conduct no less than 35 concerts in Hamburg. He has big plans for the residence orchestra of the Konzerthaus in the HafenCity, and wants to write a piece of music history on the Elbe, just like on the Hudson with the New York Philharmonic. 'The limit,' says Gilbert, 'is our imagination.'"

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“The orchestra played no small role... the Cleveland Orchestra with Gilbert displayed nothing but brilliance from front to back, reveling in the music’s enormous palette of moods, textures, and colors... Same goes for the Haydn at the outset of the program. By way of contrast to the wild world of Busoni, Gilbert opened the evening with a distinctly lithe, refined account of the 'Military' Symphony No. 100, so named for the battle imagery in its second movement. Under Gilbert, the orchestra sounded exceptionally clear and articulate, as if every phrase had been carefully sculpted, and the marches and clashes in the battle scene were nothing short of thrilling. The Busoni Concerto, in other words, may have been the highlight of the evening, but it wasn’t the only piece worth waiting for.”

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"Alan Gilbert shows himself as 'American in Paris', shining with pithy, springy rhythms, especially in 'Iberia', the 'Fragments.'"

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"With a keen eye he observes the mixture of styles, the quotes and sounding set pieces of all possible worlds of life, from which the composer has assembled his own world of sound."

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"Right in the middle and central: Gilbert, as a mediator between notes and orchestra. His Mahler picture is not an exalted reflection of one's own sensitivities, but a close-up portrait."

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"The New Yorker will be the new NDR Chief Conductor in 2019. Now he gives his first concerts with his orchestra in the Elbphilharmonie."

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"So mellow and warm were the strings in the opening Allegro, so full-bodied the brass, Gilbert seemed almost to be showing off the orchestra. Similarly, in the finale, the objective seemed not only to make a bold statement but also to have fun with the orchestra's quick reflexes, its responsiveness to changes in dynamics, phrasing, and tempo."

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"Gilbert led a thoughtful if not particularly seductive account of Debussy’s overtly sensual ballet “Jeux.” Far more persuasive was Sibelius’s darkly brooding tone poem “En Saga,” given a wonderfully characterful performance to open the night. One Finnish writer called this music “as simple as a folk song, as gloomy as the forest primeval.” Gilbert shaped those long Sibelian paragraphs of orchestral sound with a lidded intensity, and the orchestra played superbly for him. In the tone poem’s final moments, William Hudgins held the entire hall with a lone, dusky clarinet solo. You could almost hear the icy wind blowing behind the notes."

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"For Gilbert, the greatness of human existence manifests itself above all in beauty. It is at the center of his efforts, not rebellion or pride, anger or triumph. As quickly as possible, he allows the strings to light up, to sparkle the wood, to make the sheet look prickly. What is dangerous, because such a musical attitude tends too quickly to clot and remain of Beethoven's symphonic mental building only the beautiful places, with creative murmurs in between. But the fact that this does not happen shows the creative and also the technical format of this great conductor."

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"For eight years, from 2009 to 2017, Alan Gilbert, born in 1967, was principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic and one of the most important posts in the music industry. In 2019 he will become the boss of the most famous cultural property in Germany: at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. In between, he conducts the traditional performances of Beethoven's Ninth at the turn of the year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Gewandhaus. Peter Korfmacher spoke with the American, who is a welcome guest at the Gewandhaus Orchestra."

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“In the first movement, “Prophecy,” Mr. Gilbert drew out all the cinematic colorings and weighty fervor of the music, which builds to bold, brassy climaxes, without ever letting it seem overblown.”

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"Gilbert's extraordinary reading reminds us that he directed the New York Philharmonic at the David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center. He knows what it means to paint al fresco, to breathe deeply, to sculpt a vast and voluminous sound, as the Orchester de Paris seldom produces ... but of which he is fully capable! Execution always in movement, with strong tectonic springs, where the geography of instrumental geysers is part of a constantly controlled whole."

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“Gilbert gives us a reading almost Brahmsian, powerful, penetrating, lucid. It shows an astonishing ability to maintain the balance between technical mastery - that of a great conductor attentive to the clarity of sound, rhythm, and the balance of the desks - and the other. commitment, which by its fever or abandonment breathes a warm breath, a life."

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Gilbert turned super-serious with a suave yet gutsy performance of Mahler's Seventh Symphony. Lasting nearly 90 minutes, it was ferocious one moment, dreamy the next, just as the composer prescribed.

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Once again this was a chance to hear the conductor’s great strength in holding the long view and seeing that everything supported it. His pace throughout was deliberate not lethargic, the music unfolding and putting itself together in front of the listener.

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Gilbert gave each of these events an intimate physicality: When the orchestra galloped, you could feel the heat rising from its haunches.

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Since Gilbert has been leading the Philharmonic, there has been a sense of rejuvenation as the orchestra is now playing with more energy and force than audiences had seen in years and that was demonstrated on the final performance of "Das Rhiengold."

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So nothing stands in the way of an extraordinary — indeed, flawless — young Anglo-American cast. Mr. Owens lends weary, granitic power, but the moral — that is to say, amoral — center is provided by Christopher Purves, who plays the bitter, grasping Alberich as chillingly human.

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...Mr. Gilbert has expanded the mind-set of the Philharmonic — the major legacy of his tenure. His artistic priorities now seem embedded in the orchestra’s identity. It must champion contemporary music. It must foster associations with living composers and maintain the composer-in-residence position...

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The orchestra played with an exceptionally warm sound and blend, with individual voices and statements floating above the textures. Gilbert's attention to phrasing and form added an elegance to the middle two movements. The trio in the scherzo and the cantabile section of the slow movement took notable shape and emphasis by emerging out of the cornucopia of ideas and reveries in the music.

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...the orchestra's luminous strings, pristine woodwind, vibrant brass and dashing percussion underpinned Gilbert's realisation of Mahler's complex and rewarding vision.

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The third movement of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta was a revelation, conjuring up an image of walking through a graveyard at night as the skeletons below ground spring to life, before dying away again into nothingness.

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...there were many moments of magic, especially in the last two movements, welcome reminders of the orchestra's considerable form with this music.

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“Alan Gilbert, der künftige Chef des NDR-Elbphilharmonie-Orchesters, geht die überreiche Partitur allerdings auch mi der Genauigkeit und instrumentalen Tiefenschärfe eines Konzertdirigenten an.” = “However, Alan Gilbert, the future director of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, addresses the abundant score with the precision and instrumental depth of focus of a concert conductor.” “So packend kann Oper sein – das Publikum reisst es am Ende zu Recht von den Sitzen.” “So enthralling can opera be - that it pulls the audience right out of their seats in the end.”

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