New York Times Reviews “The Great Philadelphia Orchestra”


Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Despite a a few irritating cellphones ringing during Friday’s Philadelphia Orchestra performance at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times had a lot of nice things to say about the “magnificent concert,” and it’s “kinetic, young” music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. (You know he loved that “youthful” part.)

It takes some daring to open an orchestra program with the Adagio for Strings. This eight-minute piece has accrued a lot of emotional connotations on the way to becoming America’s all-but-official piece of remembrance and mourning.

Under Mr. Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia string section, justly renowned for the warmth and body of its sound, conveyed the grave beauty of the adagio through the directness and restraint of the performance. The music unfolded at a steady pace, every rhythm in place, every phrase carefully shaped.

Ring, ring.

Then, just as the final notes trailed off at the end, that cellphone interruption happened. I am certain that a grateful audience would have refrained from applauding for a long while. Instead, to combat the ringing, people started applauding immediately. When he turned around, Mr. Nézet-Séguin could not disguise how miffed he was. …

More on Nézet-Séguin:

Mr. Nézet-Séguin, in his second season as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has clearly established a mutually empowering relationship with the musicians. He took a play-to-the-max approach to this score, and the orchestra was with him all the way. This kinetic, young conductor brought inexorable sweep to the epic first movement, drawing out inner details, fidgety rhythmic riffs and piercing harmonies.

Read the rest of the review here.