The oddest thing about Sunday's Met Orchestra concert was the inordinate time -- what seemed like minutes each iteration -- James Levine spent between movements of the Messiaen piece ("Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum") doing... something. Nodding off? Meditating? Catching his breath? Remembering what came next? Whatever it was, it also involved much face-wiping, and was disconcerting to see from the Carnegie Hall seats: many in the audience seemed to think he was keeling over with some health issue.
Fortunately, Levine seemed fine (nothing odd at all to the eye) upon his return after intermission to accompany Christian Tetzlaff in an excellent account of the Brahms violin concerto. Tetzlaff's narrow but white-hot tone illuminated a clear and dramatic interpretation of the piece that fit his choice of the Joachim cadenza (for the usual broadly romantic accounts I prefer to hear Kreisler).
But Tommasini wouldn't speculate on Levine having "little feeling" for Messiaen if he had been present for the Met Orchestra performance of that same wind-brass-and-percussion piece almost a decade ago. An unforgettable event.
More tomorrow on Don Giovanni and some further performances of Salome.
UPDATE (11:30PM): The pauses appear to be written into the score. See the comments.