The Shmooze

British Apologies At NY Philharmonic Fourth of July Bash

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

Musical fireworks lit up Avery Fisher Hall on July 4th when the New York Philharmonic led by British-born conductor Bramwell Tovey and the U.S. Coast Guard Band, under the baton of Capt. Kenneth Megan, launched the NYP’s annual Star Spangled Celebration with a heart-thumping rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” which literally and figuratively thrilled both sides of the aisles.

“Why is this man with this accent standing here?” Tovey asked before explaining:” I’ve been sent by the British government to apologize. I feel terrible about the 1776 event — a ghastly mistake! Thrilled to be here among friends and allies.” The audience roared.

Karen Leon
Conductor Bramwell Tovey and Coast Guard Director Capt. Kenneth Megan

In his commentary on Aaron Copland’s (1900-90) “Four Dance Episodes” from “Rodeo” (1942/43), Tovey cautioned: “Rodeo’s Hoe-Down climax with its unexpected silence may scar you for life. [Yet]“ he conspiratorially confided, “it is a piece that saves you hours of therapy.” Commenting on his own composition, “The Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret for Trombone and Orchestra,” Tovey, with gusto, explained that it was “inspired by a tunnel traffic jam with everyone stuck behind you!” With its echoes of the 1940’s Big Bands, the orchestral work — which had its world premiere in 2013 — offered a showcase for the extraordinary Joseph Alessi, New York Philharmonic’s Principal Trombonist.

Capt. Megan led the white jacket-blue slacks/skirt clad U.S. Coast Guard Band in John Philip Sousa’s (1854-1932) “The Glory of the Yankee Navy “ and Leonard Bernstein’s (1918-1990) “Candide Suite” selections: “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” “Glitter and Be Gay,” and “Auto-Da-Fe (a/k/a/”What a Wonderful Day”) — a tongue-in-cheek allusion to The Inquisition.

The full orchestra and band joined in a medley of Service Anthems as Tovey asked veterans of America’s recent wars “to stand as their service’s anthem — Army, Navy, Air Force Marines and Coast Guard — was played.” As frail and elderly, middle-aged and a few young men and women stood up for their military branch’s anthem, the entire audience cheered and applauded, with some waving small American flags.

“If you haven’t heard them, you must have been living under a rock,” Tovey prefaced the joint orchestras’ performance of “A Medley of Sousa Marches.” He noted that Sousa’s (1893) “The Liberty Bell” march had [in the early 1970’s] been the theme for the BBC comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” At the concert’s end, as the orchestras’ members stood at the ready for Sousa’s (1896) “Stars & Stripes Forever “ Tovey’s parting words were: “This is considered the greatest march ever written…What a great day this is! How much the world owes to America.”

As I joined the crowd up the aisle toward the exit door, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked me “Are you an American?” I told her, “Yes.” Where was I from, she asked. I gave her a capsule overview of what had been a long odyssey. “ Me, too.” she smiled. “I come from Cuba. I left Communism to come here. God bless America.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.