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29.10.11

Maazel Cracks the Whip with NSO

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Charles T. Downey, Music review: Lorin Maazel conducts NSO
Washington Post, October 29, 2011

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Rachmaninoff, Piano Concertos 1/4, S. Trpčeski, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, V. Petrenko
Lorin Maazel, one of the world’s most accomplished and most senior conductors, has entered a glowing, autumnal phase in his career. In rather active semi-retirement since stepping down two years ago from a sometimes rocky tenure at the New York Philharmonic, Maazel has been giving performances characterized by warm, lovingly crafted mentorship — not descriptions one could always apply to this most imperious of leaders. In Maazel’s last appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra, in 2009, he galvanized the musicians — who were then at the end of a rudderless interregnum period before the advent of current music director Christoph Eschenbach.

Maazel did it again Friday night at the Kennedy Center, this time launching the NSO into a tight, muscled rendition of Berlioz’s overture to “Benvenuto Cellini,” imparting heroic fire to the music given to Berlioz’s violent, swashbuckling hero — the sculptor who speaks truth to power as he fights dramatic intrigues behind a papal commission for a bronze statue of Perseus.

The NSO has not played this overture since 1993, under the baton of then-guest conductor Leonard Slatkin. One did not expect its challenges to come back naturally to the musicians, but Maazel led with such a firm beat, so confident about the many transitions of tempo, that the piece fell easily into place. [Continue reading]
SEE ALSO:
Emily Cary, Trpceski debuts with Maazel and NSO (Washington Examiner, October 26)

Zachary Woolfe, Maazel, a Baton From the Past, Returns for a Visit to the Philharmonic (New York Times, October 21)

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