Jens F. Laurson, Eyewitness: NSO reigns in Germany
Washington Post, February 13, 2013
The National Symphony Orchestra’s South America tour last summer was fun, glamorous, and non-competitive; wherever the orchestra went, it was always better than the local band. Its tour to Europe, which ends today with a final performance at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman, was a different story. Although it brought the orchestra to sleepy towns like Murcia (Spain) and Nuremberg (Germany), it also exposed them to audiences who were spoiled with fine orchestras. Christoph Eschenbach has touted touring as a good team-building exercise for an orchestra, and playing in a new city often brings out the best in an ensemble; in Europe, the public’s expectations are higher, and the musicians know it.[Continue reading]
The NSO last went to Europe in 2002 under Leonard Slatkin, who emphasized American composers: a choice that both played to the orchestra’s strengths (perceived or real) and avoided direct comparisons by offering music that audiences were unlikely to have heard. Eschenbach, by contrast, offered an all-European program of Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Richard Strauss, making a conscious decision to be compared to local standards in core classical repertoire that plays, purportedly, to his own strengths.
Wolfram Goertz, Jubel um Dirigent Eschenbach – den Bildhauer der Töne (Rheinische Post, February 6)
Hans-Jürgen Fink, Traumwandlerische Spannungsbögen (Die Welt, February 8)
Interview with Arabella Steinbacher
Hans-Jürgen Mende, Arabella Steinbacher zu Gast bei NDR Kultur (NDR Kultur, February 6)