Iván Fischer, conductor
The highlight of the program was Schumann’s five-movement “Rhenish” Symphony (no. 3, E-flat major). Schumann’s adolescent, early Romanticism retains the taut form and balance of the Classical period, yet with the added line, harmonic adventurousness, and inventive orchestration of the Romantic period. With reduced string forces and without overplaying, the NSO allowed the work to soar optimistically with magnetic beauty, even though the third movement (Nicht schnell) did not quite get soft enough. The solemn Stile antico fourth movement (Feierlich) offered the most profound moments, evoking the stoic image of Cologne Cathedral; the brass showed impressive nuance and intonation in the final movement. It was wonderful to experience the NSO in such health with many fresh new faces.
Robert Battey, National Symphony with Fischer and Lendvay: Missing strings, but still diverting (Washington Post, April 1)
This concert will be repeated tonight (April 2, 8 pm), in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.