Concert Review: Eschenbach performance bodes well for National Symphony

Posted on: March 17, 2010

Monday (3/15) on his Baltimore Sun blog Clef Notes, Tim Smith writes, “Years ago, I met a music critic who said he knew after only the first minute of a concert how the whole performance—and his review—was going to come out. That always struck me as just a wee bit unlikely, but, what the heck, I’m going to take that concept another whole step: After the first few seconds of playing by the National Symphony Orchestra at the performance of Verdi’s Requiem Saturday night at the Kennedy Center, conducted by music director designate Christoph Eschenbach, I didn’t just know that the concert was going to be awfully good. I also knew in that brief moment that Eschenbach’s tenure—it launches officially in September—will be terrifically rewarding. So there.” Smith praises the opening pianissimo, “which seemed to emerge from the Other Side (the same effect was achieved later at the beginning of the ‘Lux Aeterna’ movement). … Throughout, Eschenbach’s masterful sense of line, his way of ensuring that phrases developed organically, generated affecting results. His tempos were flexible, allowing room for rubato and some very emotionally charged expansiveness.”

Posted March 17, 2010