As for Tchaikovsky's Sixth, there's no doubt the orchestra can handle the score's many technical difficulties: they've been doing so nearly every season since shortly after the work's premiere in 1893. But can Gilbert and the orchestra handle the agonizing pain of the opening movement's climax without flinching, and can they portray the closing movement's abysmal despair without succumbing to sentimental tricks like exaggerating dynamic contrasts? In other words, will Gilbert prove brilliant and passionate--or merely brilliant?
This article has been edited since it appeared in the February 2013 Ann Arbor Observer. Alan Gilbert's age has been corrected.
[Originally published in February, 2013.]