“What a find,” writes The Wall Street Journal about conductor Andris Nelsons, and Switzerland’s leading daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung asserts that “it was audible and visual here that a charismatic personality was wielding the baton, one who exerts a great power of suggestion on his musicians”. Paired with pianist Yefim Bronfman, the young maestro is at his very best.
Russian-born Bronfman, whose repertoire ranges from Classicism to the great 20th-century Russian composers, dazzles as the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the “Emperor”, which follows a sprightly rendering of Beethoven’s “The Ruins of Athens” Overture. In the concerto, Bronfman and Nelsons seem to reverse roles, with the calm and centered pianist keeping the impetuous young conductor grounded despite his virtuoso runs and full-handed chords.
The second major work of the concert is Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”, a spectacularly colorful symphonic suite that was inspired by the tales of the Arabian Nights and of the Princess Scheherazade, who told her husband 1001 stories to save her life... “The multi-faceted tone colors which the conductor enticed from the orchestra in the ‘Scheherazade’ [...] bordered on the miraculous” (Luzerner Zeitung) or, as a Spanish journalist put it: “Tonight I had the impression that the Concertgebouw truly is the best orchestra in the world”.