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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Michael Tilson Thomas by Art Streiber, Igor Levit by Robbie Lawrence
Solemnity, fury, and joy—sometimes in a single work—characterize the music on this program. Ives’s Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) with its allusions to church bells, hymns, and military band music evokes a mood of reverence. Brahms also conjures a serious tone in the second movement of his Symphony No. 2, but the work’s overall warmth and jubilant finale dispels all sorrow. Beethoven balances a stormy mood, melancholy, and high spirits in his groundbreaking Piano Concerto No. 3, a work played by Igor Levit, “one of the essential artists of his generation” (The New York Times).

Part of: Perspectives: Michael Tilson Thomas and International Festival of Orchestras III

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is also performing March 2, March 3, and March 6.

Michael Tilson Thomas is also performing October 3, October 4, March 6, May 1, and May 2.

Igor Levit is also performing October 19.


Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
Igor Levit, Piano


IVES Decoration Day
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2

Pre-Concert Talk

Pre-concert talk at 7 PM with Elaine Sisman, Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music, Columbia University.
Michael Tilson Thomas: 2018–2019 Perspectives Artist
Bank of America

This performance is sponsored by Bank of America, Carnegie Hall's Proud Season Sponsor.

Major support for this concert is provided by the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation.

The Vienna Philharmonic Residency at Carnegie Hall is made possible by a leadership gift from the Mercedes T. Bass Charitable Corporation.

Rolex is the Exclusive Partner of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

At a Glance

This concert presents three contrasting masterpieces: two by composers steeped in great tradition, and one by a composer who started his own. Like Beethoven, Ives was a daring innovator who bridged two centuries. His collage-like Decoration Day invokes childhood memories of an annual celebration of Civil War dead, presenting ghost-like fragments of American hymns and marching-band tunes in a mysterious polyphonic haze. Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto is grounded in 18th-century Viennese Classical form, yet is filled with novel ideas and structures. It has a power and severity that are a contrast to the more genial Haydnesque character of the composer’s first two piano concertos. Brahms’s Second Symphony, on the other hand, is a sunny, upbeat work that came in a burst of inspiration after the lengthy and torturous process of writing his First Symphony. The most Classical of the Romantics, Brahms was a preserver of the Haydn-Beethoven tradition in the era of Liszt and Wagner, yet his melodies—especially those in the Second Symphony—are as lyrical as those of any Romantic. His structural ingenuity was even admired by modernists, including Ives, who quoted Brahms in his own Second Symphony.

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