“The Vienna Philharmonic follows its own rules and inclinations. It is more likely to stick to time-honored fare than to venture into modernity, let alone contemporaneity,” writes James R. Oestreich in Tuesday’s (2/28) New York Times. But its Carnegie Hall performance last Friday featured “a big, burly work only a few years old, ‘Time Recycling’ (2012-13) by René Staar, a violinist in the orchestra…. A sort of Varèsian brashness permeates much of the first three of its four sections, a seeming caldron for the fourth, which tosses up an eclectic mix ranging from Perotin in the 13th century to bossa nova in the 20th…. The work was an apt foil to Richard Strauss’s ‘Ein Heldenleben’ (‘A Hero’s Life’), and both were resplendently performed…. this self-governing orchestra … remains committed to social responsibility, so heavily stressed by its last president, Clemens Hellsberg. (Andreas Grossbauer succeeded Mr. Hellsberg in 2014.) It has developed new educational initiatives, and it continues to lay bare the details of its Nazi past, seeking to make restitution.… The number of female members continues to climb, glacially. It is currently at 11, with four more in the pipeline, as it were, of the State Opera Orchestra.”

Posted March 3, 2017