“The Russian conductor Valery Gergiev must be making up for lost time,” writes David Mermelstein in Tuesday’s (4/20) Wall Street Journal. “Last year, with the exception of a three-night stint leading the London Symphony Orchestra, he was absent from this city whose musical life he has enriched for two decades. Not so this season. … Having crisscrossed the globe a few times, Mr. Gergiev is back in Manhattan to lead the New York Philharmonic in a three-week festival of Igor Stravinsky’s music at Avery Fisher Hall starting Wednesday. … The Stravinsky festival marks his return to the Philharmonic for the first time in 10 years … For ‘The Russian Stravinsky,’ the festival’s formal title, the conductor leads 13 concerts of seven different programs through May 8. All the pieces in some way relate to the vague notion of Russianness in music by a composer who spent the vast majority of his life in exile, first in Europe and then in America. In addition to such familiar fare as the ballets ‘The Firebird,’ ‘Petrushka’ and ‘The Rite of Spring,’ the programs include rarities like ‘Le Roi des Étoiles,’ ‘Orpheus,’ ‘Renard,’ ‘Jeu de Cartes’ and ‘Les Noces.’ ”

Posted April 20, 2010