The New York Philharmonic at Hong Kong Arts Festival

The New York Philharmonic's performance on 16 February under Music Director, Lorin Maazel was splendid. The Silken Ladder Overture (La Scala di Seta Overture) was lively, gay and joyous. The haunting melodies in Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor spoke compellingly.

27-year old cellist Alisa Weilerstein, serious and charming with creamy skin, a sea-turquoise flowing gown and slightly braided honey-blonde hair, played with passion, internalizing and reverberating with the music she interpreted. Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A major (The Italian Symphony) was played with precise energy, pattern and fire. I wonder what people from stricter cultures make of the fact that orchestral members, who casually wander on and off stage during the interval and before the concert begins, coalesce so faultlessly, once the performance begins.

Lorin Maazel last conducted in the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 1982, with the Cleveland Orchestra. I was there, in one of the front rows, to the right of the conductor and able to see his face and expression. I was very impressed, so much so that I wrote a poem about his conducting. This was published by Proverse Hong Kong, many years later (2003) in For the Record: and other Poems of Hong Kong, supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Obviously he is older, but so much is the same. No score needed for two of the three pieces. A quick getting down to business the moment he steps onto the podium. The flowing exchange of energy between conductor and players as exciting to watch and experience as ever.