In Monday’s (4/2) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini reviews the two American orchestras visiting Carnegie Hall this weekend. “The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut in 1971, four years after Robert Shaw had taken charge as music director. Mr. Shaw, who died in 1999 at 82, would lead the Atlanta Symphony a dozen times at Carnegie Hall during his acclaimed 21-year tenure with the orchestra.… On Saturday night, the exact day of his centennial, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by the music director Robert Spano, paid tribute to Mr. Shaw with a program offering impressive performances of Jonathan Leshnoff’s ‘Zohar,’ in its New York premiere, and Brahms’s ‘A German Requiem,’ a score Mr. Shaw revered.… The Utah Symphony … before Friday night had not performed at the hall in 41 years.… Under the dynamic leadership of Thierry Fischer, now in his seventh season as music director, the ensemble has been attracting audiences, donors and crucial government support. For this concert, the orchestra’s 75th anniversary, the mood in the hall was celebratory.… The inspired players excelled in an ambitious program that featured the New York premiere of Andrew Norman’s ‘Switch,’ one of several recent Utah Symphony commissions.…  Only after the piece had been going for a minute or so did the percussion soloist, Colin Currie, sneak onstage and pick up mallets. The piece unfolded with bouts of frenetic activity, volleys of percussion and gnashing chords.… Mr. Fischer and the orchestra played … selections from Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ and Bartok’s Suite from ‘The Miraculous Mandarin.’ Both received exciting, colorful and fervent performances. For the Atlanta program, Mr. Leshnoff, 42, wrote a 30-minute choral work, ‘Zohar,’ scored, as with the Brahms requiem, for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra.… Mr. Leshnoff has been called a leader of the contemporary American lyricism, though Neo-Romantic would be a simpler description of his stylistic approach in ‘Zohar.’ … Mr. Spano drew a glowing, spacious performance of the Brahms [Requiem] from the orchestra.”

Posted May 2, 2016