Iván Fischer, conductor
Thursday’s performance began 20+ minutes late, due to thunderstorms that delayed some musicians and audience members. Not all made it, since many back row string players moved up a row. The NSO last performed Scheherazade in November 2007 under the baton of Roberto Minczuk. Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef again led the exotic story telling of Sultana Scheherazade, which was strongly reinforced by other wind and horn soloists. Placing the harpist, who often accompanies the violin soloist, in the front row directly in front of Fischer and a few seats away from Bar-Josef was strikingly effective, even though the harp’s tuning began to drop by the end of the piece. The chronic lack of precision of the NSO’s upper string sections, where the principals on the front row strike a note, followed by each subsequent row fractions of a second later, was seemingly something Fischer was unable to eliminate given his less than frequent visits to Washington. A few times the first [and second--Ed.] violins, divided on the opposite sides of the stage, were completely uncoordinated when attempting to begin a lyrical phrase in unison. Hopefully Eschenbach, working full time, will crack the whip to bring the NSO consistently to world-class standards, which begins with being able to play the score in polished ensemble.
Anne Midgette, Iván Fischer concludes NSO tenure with program playing to both their strengths (Washington Post, June 5)
---, Ivan Fischer at the NSO (Washington Post, June 3)
This concert repeats today (June 4, 1:30 pm) and tomorrow (June 5, 8 pm), in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.