Spending two out of three nights at the Philharmonic isn't my typical idea of a good time, but it was worth the trek back up to Lincoln Center last night for Britten's War Requiem: a monumental work for orchestra, children's and adult chorus dedicated to the victims of war that's achieved masterpiece status even though it's only as old as Avery Fisher itself (1962). Lorin Maazel conducted the Requiem without pause and with total command of the masses onstage, whipping his baton around like a coach driver. At one point during the Sanctus, Maazel - who turns 80 this year - gestured with such force that he nearly threw himself off the podium.
The Thursday night crowd at Avery Fisher is known to be more dead than most, but they outdid themselves this time: after a single curtain call, so many had already made their way up the aisle towards the exits that the orchestra had no choice but to leave the stage, rather than wait for Maazel and the soloists to return. Congrats, New York: once again, you've proven yourselves the worst audience in the world. Way to see the old man out. (More pics below.)