Review: First virtual concert led by Philadelphia Orchestra’s new principal guest conductor

Posted on: February 1, 2021

“The Philadelphia Orchestra has another major artistic voice in the room these days…. Nathalie Stutzmann, last month named the orchestra’s next principal guest conductor, doesn’t start the job officially until fall,” writes Peter Dobrin in Thursday’s (1/28) Philadelphia Inquirer. “She’s already on the scene, though. In a program of two Beethoven favorites, Stutzmann emerges as the focus of this week’s Digital Stage program. There’s a tabula rasa aspect to this repertoire (no soloist, no premiere) that pulls back the curtain on what kind of musical mind is now at work here.… Stutzmann hears these pieces fresh, free of the interpretive varnish that has yellowed corners of this crystalline music. In Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, where, in other hands, culminating moments sometimes slow down as if struggling up a hill, Stutzmann pushes straight ahead. There is a through-line in every phrase she encounters. The main tempo she chooses for the movement doesn’t sprint, but glides—majestically…. The Digital Stage production comes with a performance of Beethoven’s Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus.… [In] the slow introduction … the big, spaced strokes of sound produced an echo, reminding us that there’s still a concert hall there that someday might be filled again.”