On February 6, 2019, Yoel Levi conducted the Israel Philharmonic
at Miami’s Arsht Center. The program consisted of Schubert’s Third
Symphony and the Bruckner Seventh Symphony. The featured work, Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, written between 1881 and 1883, was played after intermission. It is a work of gigantic dimensions, fullness of sound and richly complex harmony.
When Arthur Nikisch, who conducted the premiere, first learned the
score, he immediately proclaimed that Bruckner was the most remarkable
symphonist since Beethoven. Bruckner’s symphonic works reflected the
influence of Beethoven, Schubert and, to a lesser extent, Wagner.
(Ernest Newman even went so far as to call it a “dog-like devotion to
Yoel Levi, one of the world’s great conductors, conducted a
glorious performance from memory, as is his custom. The orchestra’s
rich sound filled the hall, which was acoustically designed by Russell
Johnson. The long standing ovation was well deserved.
Initially, as Bruckner began to compose the Adagio second movement, he had a mysterious premonition of Richard Wagner’s death. When he subsequently learned of Wagner’s death, he composed an obituary tribute in the Coda of the Seventh Symphony, in which the score has a quartet of Wagnerian Tubas.
Parenthetically, I and approximately a hundred ticket holders
were denied admission to the entire first half of the concert by
Rodolfo, the Arsht Lobby Manager, because delay caused by
inadequate valet-parking staff prevented access to the hall in
time for the national anthems which opened the the concert. He also
refused to ask that the beginning of the program be briefly delayed to
allow the ticket holders to enter the hall as well as to authorize
refund of the $30. valet parking fee.
When Johann Zietsman, the new president and CEO of the Arsht Center learned that so many ticket holders were prevented from attending the entire first half of the concert, he expressed his concern and promised to look into the matter.