Conflagration of the house. (Night After Night)


The hardy Brooklyn Philharmonic, long an invaluable part of the New York City music scene, ushered in a new era on Saturday night with its inaugural concert under the direction of its recently appointed music director, the fresh-faced Michael Christie. Something of an antithesis to the New York Philharmonic — where tonight, former BP music director Robert Spano once again guested with the program described yesterday — the Brooklyn ensemble typically concentrates on new music, unusual repertoire and offbeat treatment of standard classics. Christie’s bold debut incorporated all three elements.

Following an boisterous greeting from borough president Marty Markowitz (who alluded to the new conductor’s relatively tender age, as we are all likely wont to do), Christie mounted the podium for a new, untitled welcoming fanfare by John Corigliano. Facing the brass players assembled onstage, at the downbeat Christie swiveled to direct choral groups located along the sides of the house, who gamely blew antiphonal riffs seemingly borrowed from the theme to TV western Bonanza on kazoos. The brass players joined them in the final bars, combining in a playfully irreverent manner that seemed entirely well suited to the Brooklyn ethos, not to mention the ritualistic fare on offer tonight.