James Levine / Evgeny Kissin / Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

James Levine Live at Carnegie Hall

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After a two-year hiatus due to health problems, James Levine returned to Carnegie Hall on May 19, 2013, to lead the Met Orchestra in a stirring presentation of music by Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. This concert showed Levine to be both resilient and confident as he conducted from his elevated wheelchair, demonstrating the inner strength that has sustained him through several injuries and surgeries. The program opened with a beatific performance of Wagner's Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin, and the orchestra responded to Levine's direction with warmth and intensity. The thoughtful and nuanced reading of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major featured Evgeny Kissin, whose technical brilliance and physical energy carried over into his encore, the Rondo a capriccio, "Rage Over a Lost Penny." The most exceptional performance of the concert was of Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, which was imbued with expansiveness and nobility, raising the already fine playing to a sublime level of interpretation and control. The live recording provides reasonably clear reproduction, with almost every note audible, though there is a slight feeling of distance between the microphone and the musicians, and the audience's noises are a little too apparent in soft spots.

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