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JoAnn Falletta Returning to Carnegie Hall on Tuesday



By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director JoAnn Falletta is returning to Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night, this time at the helm of the prestigious Orchestra of St. Luke's, a New York chamber ensemble.

She will be joined by pianist Alain Lefevre, who is playing the Piano Concerto No. 4 of Andre Mathieu, and who is pictured with her above.

Historically, on the classical music and vaudeville circuits, Buffalo has been a town that previews shows bound for New York. Such was the case with this concert. Lefevre was in Buffalo early this year to perform that particular concerto, which he champions. Mathieu, who has been called Canada's Mozart, was a pianist and composer who was a protege of Rachmaninoff and died young. The concerto Lefevre is playing was put together from fragments after his death.

Lefevre's performance in Buffalo was memorable in part because there was a glitch and the wheels to the piano were not properly secured. The instrument kept rolling away from him as he played. After the first movement he had to tap Falletta on the shoulder, and the situation was subsequently fixed. You could say the pianist was on a roll. Which The Buffalo News did.

As I wrote in the review on a more serious note, I did not see the concerto as worthy of becoming part of the mainstream repertoire. I thought the music was immature -- though it showed promise, it was fevered and lacked focus. New York might disagree with me, who knows? I hope someone there hears the piece and writes about it. I do remember that Lefevre played the concerto with passion and color -- he even had the impossible-sounding music memorized. 

This is JoAnn Falletta's debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Besides the Mathieu concerto, she will be conducting Mozart's "Linz" Symphony.

The Orchestra of St. Luke's, organized in 1979, takes its name from the Episcopal Church of St. Luke's-in-the-Fields in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The church was built in 1820 on what was then farmland. Its first pastor was Clement Moore, the author of "A Visit From St. Nicholas." ("'Twas the night before Christmas...")

Clement Moore was friends with Mozart's friend Lorenzo da Ponte, who wrote the libretti to "Don Giovanni," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Cosi fan Tutte." 

OK, enough trivia for one day! We wish JoAnn good luck at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday.

In case anyone wants to go, it seems tickets range from a bargain $7.50 to $85.


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