A couple of months back Gustavo Dudamel gave New York a taste of his artistry when he brought his own Los Angeles Philharmonic to David Geffen Hall in a concert that featured Yuja Wang in John Adams’s enjoyable new Piano Concerto. Now it was his chance to get his hands on the home team, conducting the New York Philharmonic in Schubert and Mahler, and very impressive he was too.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the New York Philharmonic. Photo © Chris Lee

Das Lied von der Erdeis an awkward fish to program. Does it need a companion or is it enough on its own? Dudamel decided to pair it with an early-Romantic symphony, one that at least had Vienna in common with the Mahler. Schubert’s relatively rarely played Fourth Symphony is oddly nicknamed “Tragic” (the title was Schubert’s but apart from being in C Minor it doesn’t come across as especially tortured). The composer was still only 19-years of age and the symphony, though full of good ideas, falls shy of really memorable melodies. Schubert wouldn’t find the means to wed his symphonic skills to...

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