Music: An Ambassador Arrives

An Ambassador Arrives

All the right protocol was observed. KURT MASUR, making his first appearance as music director of the New York Philharmonic (succeeding Zubin Mehta), rightly judged that the occasion was more ceremonial than musical. So the German maestro began with a polite bow to America, conducting two short pieces by contemporary composer John Adams and a set of Old American Songs by Aaron Copland (winningly sung by baritone Thomas Hampson). Then Masur, who has led Leipzig's venerable Gewandhaus Orchestra since 1970, reached under his tailcoat and produced his own credential: an authoritative, warmly expressive version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. This...

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