Editors Choice

norman lebrecht

March 03, 2023

Montreal Symphony (OSM) and its dynamic new Music Director, Rafael Payare, make their first appearance together at Carnegie Hall this Wednesday (March 8).

Rafael Payare is making his long-anticipated Carnegie Hall debut with this performance. He leads Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which he and the Montreal Symphony have just recorded for Pentatone.
“Electrifying in front of an Orchestra.” (Los Angeles Times) “Montreal is lucky to have put their hands on Rafael Payare. What he did with Mahler’s Symphony was out of this world.” (La Presse)
Also, Yefim Bronfman joins the Orchestra for Béla Bartók’s dazzling Piano Concerto No. 2. “He is a virtuoso with chops that defy comparison.” (The New York Times)

The concert begins with the New York premiere of Canadian-based U.S. composer Dorothy Chang’s “Precipice.” She writes that “it was inspired by the idea of standing, seemingly perpetually, at the precipice of something immensely dark and overwhelming. I have tried to capture the sense of unrelenting tension and apprehension, a reflection of a constant state of stress that ebbs and flows
but never fully subsides.”

Priced for all, remaining tickets start at just $25. Slipped Disc readers can enjoy a 25% discount on all other priced tickets with this discount code: MNT39878.
Rafael Payare, Music Director / Conductor
Yefim Bronfman, Piano
BARTÓK Piano Concerto No. 2
MAHLER Symphony No. 5


  • Mick the Knife says:

    ….and at the Kennedy Center Monday evening. “Be there or be square”!

  • Anon says:

    Payare. Fooling all of the people, all of the time. Ask the musicians! Bronfman is a genius though.

  • The View from America says:

    “Montreal Symphony (OSM) and its dynamic new Music Director, Rafael Payare …”

    Having seen Payare in concert, “dynamic” isn’t a word I’d use to describe his performance.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    OK, so you have to figure that there’s some reason Pentatone would issue TWO Mahler 5 recordings at pretty much exactly the same time. I knew nothing about Payere – still don’t, really – so I came to his new M5 with the Montreal Symphony with a completely open mind. Just this last week, I listened completely through Pentatone’s other Mahler 5, which was with Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Phil. Let me be clear on this, I generally very much like Bychkov’s work (I saw him give an excellent Mahler 6 with the Vienna Phil., and I thought his Mahler 4 recording with the Czech Phil. was outstanding). Then I listened to the Payare just this morning. Both are very good, but I actually found the Payare to be bit more exciting (and the timings are consistently a tad faster).

    As you folks know, everybody and their brother performs and records Mahler 5. But I would say the last six minutes of Payare’s finale are about as well executed – and as exciting – as I’ve heard those final minutes on record. I would think that people who go to Carnegie Hall to hear them do Mahler 5, will be in for quite a treat if they do it just as well as it is on this Pentatone recording.

    • MacroV says:

      I saw them at the Kennedy Center last night; alas, not a lot of company as the hall was at best half full – that’s more a reflection of the current state of concertgoing in the Greater DC area than of the OSM. Hopefully a bigger crowd will turn up at Carnegie; they’ll be glad they did.

      The Mahler 5 was extraordinary. Maybe it was because I was sitting behind the orchestra – which I rarely do – but the intensity was something to behold – this wasn’t Charles Dutoit’s OSM playing shimmering Ravel (which I heard many times when I lived in Montreal 20 years ago). The Baltimore SO is playing Mahler 5 this weekend and I’m looking forward to comparing them.

      Yefim Bronfman is, obviously, extraordinary. Bartok #2 is a great piece but not one that has obvious audience appeal; I suspect it gets played simply because it’s good, whether or not people like it. Pity there weren’t more people there to hear it.

      First time I saw Payare; I’d go to hear the OSM with any conductor so he was kind of incidental. He seemed to know what he was doing. I imagine the OSM is an orchestra of sufficient stature that they don’t need to hire just anyone as MD.