On 29 June I had the pleasure, through the generosity of acquaintances, to visit the Park Avenue Armory for Philharmonic 360 and rare performances of Pierre Boulez’ Rituel in Memoriam Bruno Maderna and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert. Given that more precise memories of the concert have begun to fade, I am hesitant to write more about these performances, except to say that the odd inclusion of the Act I finale from Don Giovanni in the program permitted Michael Counts another opportunity to lay waste to the art of opera in the service of some weird vision, the significance of which is evident only to himself. But certainly the Boulez and Stockhausen were excellent, and it’s unlikely I’ll hear them done better in my lifetime.
Bruce Hodges had a somewhat different reaction; you can read his recent, more nuanced review of the concert at Seen and Heard International. But you needn’t side with Bruce or myself; the concert is available for free viewing at Medici TV through 2 October, and you are welcome to judge according to your own lights.