We welcome this review from first-time contributor Michael De Sapio.
Right from the opening bars of the Grieg, one had a palpable sense of ease and trust between the Philadelphians and their dynamic young conductor, who has been leading the orchestra since 2012 (including helping to lead it out of its financial troubles). Nézet-Séguin didn't so much conduct the music as coax it effortlessly out of the orchestra; the music-making had an organic flow. The expressive intention was so unanimous across the orchestra that regular eye contact with Nézet-Séguin was hardly necessary; conductor and orchestra simply breathed as one. Everything flowed naturally from the famed “Philadelphia sound,” a rich fullness of blend crowned by plush strings.
Anne Midgette, Philly beguiles with symphonic power (Washington Post, April 9)
---, Yannick, unique: Philadelphia Orchestra hopes it’s found its savior (Washington Post, April 2)
Philadelphia Orchestra on Ionarts:
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
December 2007 | June 2007 | 2005 | 2004
Was Rachmaninoff really a nostalgic Romantic who completely rejected modern sounds? That he was a lush Romantic there is no doubt; if you want gushing melodies, the third-movement Adagio offered a veritable waterfall. Yet the symphony also had moments with a starkness, brusqueness, and rhythmic energy which seemed modern in spirit. It seems only a small step from Rachmaninoff's sinister second-movement scherzo to the scherzos of Shostakovich. Washington audiences are very generous with their standing ovations, but the thunderous one that greeted the last note of the Rachmaninoff was well merited. No matter how well-worn these pieces, they are always welcome with playing of this caliber.