Mesmerizing French piano virtuoso Jean-Yves Thibaudet powers a New York Philharmonic concert at Lincoln Center. Indelible works by Gershwin (d. 1937) and Bernstein (d. 1990) captivate. Beneath the chandeliers, the night is a swinging salvo of American invention just twenty blocks—and a great many tuxedos—north of the stage-managed revelry in Times Square, which is sponsored by Nivea skin cream.
The concert’s inspired finale floats up on the warbling wings of the clarinet glissando that begins Rhapsody in Blue, a tune originally called American Rhapsody, before Ira Gershwin suggested the change to his brother. In the last hours of 2011, both titles seem right.