As conductor, Anthony Newman has worked with the greats of chamber music orchestras: St. Paul Chamber, LA Chamber, Budapest Chamber, Scottish Chamber, and the 92nd St. Y Chamber Orchestras. Larger symphonic groups include: Seattle (over 40 appearances), Los Angeles, San Diego, Calgary, Denver, and New York Philharmonic Orchestras.
"Although, or perhaps because, the Baroque letter was nowhere to be found at the concert of the New York Chamber Symphony on Saturday evening, the Baroque spirit ruled everywhere triumphant. Anthony Newman, as conductor and organ soloist, served up a delightful potpourri, liberally sprinkled with his own handiwork.
As a unifying theme, Mr. Newman presented three 'triolets' of trumpet tunes, each a group of three short works he had arranged for organ, three trumpets and timpani. Unfamiliar pieces by Nicolas-Antoine Lebegue and Jean-Francois Dandrieu mingled with familiar ones by Henry Purcell (the famous Trumpet Tune in C, and the Rondeau from 'Abdelazar,' on which Benjamin Britten based his 'Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra') and Jean-Joseph Mouret (the tune used by the BBC's 'Masterpiece Theater').
Mr. Newman took the fore in Handel's Organ Concerto in G minor (Op. 4, No.1) and in five Mozart church sonatas, also for organ and orchestra. In the nature of the program, many hands were idle much of the time, but Mr. Newman found added use for the trumpeters and timpanist, to beef up the ending of the concerto.
The New York Chamber Symphony Chorus chimed in effectively at the end of the evening with three Coronation Anthems by Handel: 'Zadok the Priest' (inevitably repeated as an encore), 'My Heart is Inditing' and 'the King Shall Rejoice.' So here was a festive and regal holiday program complete with a climatic 'Alleluia' chorus by Handel yet utterly unhackneyed and full of surprises: a nice achievement. Still more, the word that kept coming to mind was 'personality': one not always associated with this orchestra and chorus, and certainly not with this hall. One of the great benefits of the ensemble's recent move from the 92nd Street Y to Alice Tully Hall is the splendid Kuhn organ there, and it was a joy to see it put to such imaginative use.
But why don't audiences see, if not hear, more of that organ in general? With the stage panels open to reveal the organ, the hall, normally drab and dry to the eye, and ear, takes on a whole different personality: spacious, vibrant, slightly majestic.
Even when it is not actively functioning as a musical instrument, an organ is an acoustical instrument, its pipes enhancing reverberance as well as the dispersion of sound. It has long been a mystery why performers have not experimented more with the organ open to see whether the potential gains might outweigh whatever may be lost to the nooks and crannies also exposed.
The experience on Saturday, like many another before, suggests that they might."
"Anthony Newman's singular approach to Baroque style in general, and to Bach in particular has been stirring up audiences for some time. His first of four concerts yesterday was so stylish and impeccably played, it could hardly have offended anyone.
On the whole the performances were propulsive and crisply articulated, but never tense or overdriven. Newman uses generous amounts of ornamentation and rubato effect…"
"His use of rubato is particularly subtle — tiny pauses at various key spots to isolate and define vertical blocks within a phrase. This is a very tricky procedure, but Newman has managed to incorporate it naturally into what has always been a formidable keyboard technique."
Newman Dances Through Baroque Pair of weekend concerts highlight rhythmic aspects of Bach and others "The Brandenburg Collegium concert was highlighted by J. S. Brandenburg Collegium concert was highlighted by J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos 4 — 6. Three of the four concertos have concluding movements marked only "Allegro," while the other is indicated "Presto." With nothing more specific, Bach leaves room for superior players to imprint their own design. And while Newman's sense for decoration included trills and dashes of tremolo, in many cases, it was his pulsing, at times staccato, phrasing which added a dimension of dance one does not always get from Bach. It made for fun and involving performances…." "From his lead position at the harpsichord, Newman's calm, expressionless demeanor stood in contrast to his brilliant finger-work. The vast solo in the Fifth Brandenburg, for example, was a cleverly manipulated, clearly-phrased whirlwind." "From baroque trumpet tunes (including Purcell's Abdelazer Rondo, and Mouret's Rondo from Suite des Sinfonies) to powerful works of his own, Newman's recital included some of Bach's most powerful works for the organ. The performance was authoritative, well-paced and intelligently planned. If there was a highlight, it was the vast C minor Passacaglia and Fugue. Newman illustrated the full and distinct character of each variation emanating from that ground, while never letting the central motif get lost in the cascade of melody."
"It's not often that you get all six on the same program; usually the Brandenburgs are spaced well apart on chamber concerts, perhaps so that music lovers don't get an entire meal of desserts. Few at Benaroya were complaining, however, about such a surfeit, especially with the dexterous and adventurous Anthony Newman leading the performances from the harpsichord and violinist Ani Kavafian heading the soloists."
Bach's six concertos prove to be the magic number at final concert By Valerie Scher "…Sunday's musicians displayed a sonorous command of baroque counterpoint and ornamentation. Harpsichordist Anthony Newman made a dazzling contribution to the Concerto No. 5 thanks to his mastery of trills, chromaticism and elaborate passage work. During the Concerto No. 2, trumpeter David Washburn excelled in his high-pitched part, making it showy but never shrill."
"It is a great pleasure to experience this treatment, stripped of its editorial pretensions, and it is certainly worth hearing again. The fluid tempi and unadulterated violin sound, with its swift and fine use of bow, as well as the inspiring interpretation, are the secret to these performances."
Nicht nur sinfonische Dichtungen Dorothea Walda "on Newman's debut as conductor of the Robert Schumann Philharmonic: The strikingly correct and restrained, but very precise conducting of guest conductor Anthony Newman made for an impressive reading of Liszt's 'Les Preludes,' a reading which drew long lasting approval from the audience."
"Anthony Newman was a guest conductor and keyboard soloist. A card-carrying member of the period instrument cartel, he along with members of the orchestra, delivered a concert filled with excellent playing."
"Newman, who made a strong case of the Telemann, chose not to conduct either that or the Handel Suites from the harpsichord (the orchestra hired the extremely adept Jillon Stoppels Dupree instead, an excellent choice). It's always a bit of a compromise when the evening's soloist is also the conductor; sometimes both duties are shortchanged. Newman reserved his keyboard activities for the Bach harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, in which he navigated the thorny and convoluted writing with considerable dispatch (he is particularly noted as a Bach interpreter). The harpsichord, discreetly amplified, was brought to the foreground but never overemphasized. Newman also addressed some commentary to the audience in droll asides about Handel's missing trumpet parts (ostensibly carried off by trumpeters who also were in the cavalry). He struck just the right balance of informality and seriousness."
"These performances offer continual new insights to those who thought they had exhausted the pleasures of these most famous of all Bach's works." "What makes the recent recording so novel and exciting is Mr. Newman's approach to ornamentation and improvisation. "
"Who needs yet another Bach Brandenburg Concerto cycle? Anyone who loves the work and wants to hear an exciting, musically stimulating, highly fascinating performance! The recording by Anthony Newman and the Brandenburg Collegium held my rapt attention. It was as though hearing the works with new ears: the precision, the articulation, the ornamentation, the superb engineering. It was wonderful. In my opinion, this new recording is the leader in the field, by far the most exciting and musically fascinating account."
"Nothing could have been more surprising than the completely unsurprising Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Mozart public radio standard that is typically turned out as melodic gush. On these instruments, in this intimate performance, it was indeed like night music. The humming sonorities of the strings in the Allegro — each standing out as an individual voice — seemed to have floated in through a window, like crickets chirping — so thin a sliver of sound. The Menuetto was perhaps little less impressive than it would have been with a full orchestra, but the performance of the Rondo combined both lushness and explicit sonorities — Mozart as I would hope Mozart would have played it. Throughout the Mozart, the playing was free and loose – and, at times, a touch flat.
But with the addition of a pair of oboes and pair of horns for the Haydn Concerto in D. Major for Harpsichord, the Collegium seemed to tighten up a bit. Perhaps, too they were energized by the serendipity of Newman's improvised cadenzas. The first, toward the end of the Vivace, was pure fun — a Widor Victorian organ fantasy squeezed into 18th Century clothes. But the cadenza in the slower second movement was perfectly, delightfully classical."
"Anthony Newman's performance (Newport Classics NC 60015/1-2) with the Brandenburg Collegium Orchestra and Chorus also employs original instruments. But what a difference in performing attitudes. Here, too, the opening "Exordio" has unstoppable power, but Mr. Newman's choral texture is more homogeneous and resonant…" "In this impeccable compact disc, Anthony Newman transcends the Protestant austerity of the St. John Passion and reveals the sensuous inevitability of Bach's music."
"…but enough was sampled to grasp Mr. Newman's conception. From the churning opening chorus, this was no detached meditation on matters metaphysical but a life-and-death drama of immense human interest. To this end, some of the tempos seemed unusually propulsive, but one listened breathlessly, caught up in the sweep and power of Bach's great work."
"Mr. Newman had his forces almost on edge; their nerves were alive. One number flowed into another with compelling inevitability. Textures were extremely light, rhythms extremely crisp, the tempos extremely fast (at least compared to those in general use before the last decade and its revivalist practices), but they seemed always energized and intensely focused, never trivializing."