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12.7.08

Masur Steps Down from ONF

Kurt MasurKurt Masur, who will turn 81 on Friday, is about to step down from the directorship of the Orchestre National de France, to be succeeded in September by Italian conductor Daniele Gatti. In a review from the series of Masur's final concerts (Kurt Masur, mission accomplie, July 12) for Le Monde, Marie-Aude Roux summed up his tenure (my translation):

[Masur] had the stature to right an orchestra that had fallen into failure after years of dilution [déliquescence] under the direction of Charles Dutoit. [...] In six years, [Masur] managed to give this orchestra, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2005, self-confidence and an appetite for playing together that is rarely found. He gave it incredible cohesion and sonic density, that famous pâte d'orgue (organ dough), the instrument he was to have studied but that was forbidden him because of irreversibly shortened fingers, caused by a genetic disease revealed in adolescence, obliging him to become a conductor in the way "a poor Spaniard becomes a toreador." The man who directed Mendelssohn's orchestra, the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus, from 1970 to 1996, made the ONF into a shining, solid orchestra, lauded by critics in international repertoire, without doubt the best French orchestra at the moment.
We heard his valedictory concert here in April, and the players in that orchestra were clearly devoted to Masur and, not coincidentally, played one hell of a Bruckner 7th. We wish the maestro well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kurt Masur should be the next director of the NSO.