7/29/2019

Noseda to conduct the NSO for the first time at Wolf Trap

«There were so many cars at Wolf Trap on Friday night that I briefly wondered whether I had come to the wrong concert. But it was indeed the National Symphony Orchestra, offering its one straight classical program in a Wolf Trap season that runs mainly to pops concerts and live film accompaniment — and it was playing with its own music director, Gianandrea Noseda, to boot. As an onlooker, it’s hard to tell what draws audiences to a particular event — Noseda’s presence; Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony; or the fact that there are so few NSO classical concerts at Wolf Trap this summer — but something, at least, got people out in force. (…) Noseda loves to perform in different venues, and he has a knack for communication. He picked up the microphone and said a few words about how excited he was to be there for the first time, and what a gift it was for all the musicians to perform such great music. And then he turned around, picked up the baton and sounded as if he really meant it. (…) Noseda has a particular way with Beethoven: fresh and helium-light and so fleet that the strings almost floated offstage in the headlong blink-and-you’ll-miss-it passagework of the trio section of the third-movement scherzo. Because he and the orchestra will be performing and recording the complete symphonies at the end of the upcoming season, their contribution to 2020’s 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, it was nice to hear this performance sounding so assured, with enough visceral energy to counterbalance the speed and keep the whole thing grounded on Earth after all.»
The Washington Post, Anne Midgette

«The event marked music director Gianandrea Noseda’s belated Wolf Trap debut. (…) Next season Noseda will lead a Beethoven festival with the NSO, performing all nine of the composer’s symphonies in the space of three weeks. He gave a taste of what to expect with this rendition of the Fifth Symphony, already heard at the Kennedy Center in April. His tempo for the first movement was so brisk and brash that the famous unison opening went by in a flash. (…)Beginning with the hushed tension of the transition from the third movement, the Finale was packed with energy, and the trumpets rang out heroically in the triumphant climaxes. The orchestral enthusiasm could not be dampened, even by that unexpected return of the sneaky Scherzo music.»
Washington Classical Review, Charles T. Downey