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26.1.13

NSO Ready for Tour

Image by Jens Laurson

As reported last week, the National Symphony Orchestra is preparing for a European tour this month. Along with a recording contract with Ondine, this is the most visible sign of Christoph Eschenbach's tenure with the orchestra outside of Washington. Tours raise the NSO's profile and bring its playing to the ears of critics in other countries. We will try to follow the results by bringing you whatever reviews we can find. Readers in those countries are invited to send their impressions if they attend one of the concerts.

Other Reviews:

Anne Midgette, National Symphony Orchestra’s latest concert seems like a dress rehearsal (Washington Post, January 25)
The trip begins in Spain, with two concerts at the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid (January 31 and February 1) and one at the Auditorio y Centro de Congresos Victor Villegas in Murcia (February 2). The NSO then travels to Germany for concerts at Düsseldorf's Tonhalle (February 4), Hamburg's Laeiszhalle (February 6), Nürnberg's Meistersingerhalle (February 7), and Frankfurt's Alte Oper (February 9). These concerts will feature various combinations of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge (arr. for string orchestra by Weingartner), Mozart's fifth violin concerto, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Strauss's Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, and Brahms's second symphony. The soloist for the Mozart will be Arabella Steinbacher, who has stepped in to replace Julia Fischer. The European phase of the tour ends on February 10 at the Salle Pleyel, Eschenbach's old stomping grounds from when he was music director of the Orchestre de Paris. This is the only concert that will feature Tzimon Barto in Bartók's second piano concerto.

From Paris, the NSO will make one final stop before returning home, to perform a concert at the Royal Opera House in Oman on February 13. The local Kennedy Center connection there is that theater's new CEO is Christina Scheppelmann, formerly of our own Washington National Opera. This concert is the only one to feature violinist Dan Zhu in the Mozart fifth violin concerto -- he is playing the piece this week with the NSO at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. A bout with the stomach flu prevented me from hearing the performance, but Anne Midgette's report is not encouraging.

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