The program notes for the MET Orchestra concert at Carnegie earlier today stated that Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra, Opus 6, were to be performed in the revised, reduced version of 1928. But a member of Carnegie's staff advised that the original version would be used instead — which made me happy, since there's something gloriously excessive about the work as Webern conceived it, in that first atonal summer of 1909. The score calls for a very large orchestra that includes six trombones, yet the fifth and sixth trombones make an almost absurdly minimal appearance: they are heard only in a sequence of five chords, marked pp and ppp, at the beginning of the fifth piece. When Webern made the revision, he criticized his initial version as "extravagant," noting also that the alto flute was given only a brief solo in the fourth piece. Maybe so, but the extravagance of the ensemble and the extreme economy with which it is used are integral to the music's power: one is aware of a vast army of instruments held in reserve, their full force unleashed in overwhelming instants. And that alto flute solo is eerie beyond words. So kudos to James Levine for dismissing practicalities and unveiling Opus 6 in all its terrible sublimity. (He took the fourth piece, the Funeral March, even slower than he does on his thrilling DG recording.) Let's hope someone bought drinks for those two hard-working trombonists who were brought in to play five very soft notes; they had nothing else to do for the remainder of the concert.