Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Yannick Nézet-Séguin
EMI Classics 9 66342 2
A conductor’s baton is a lightning rod. It can charge an orchestra’s performance with breathtaking energy or leave it in smoking ruins. Leading one of the world’s great orchestra’s therefore requires an Olympian confidence balanced with respect for the potential scale of both success and failure.
Young Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic since September 2008. His appointment caused notable chatter in the small Canadian orchestra world and turned many heads internationally. Early reviews of his work in Rotterdam and London have been strong endorsements of his talent and this recording will be another step in his advancing career.
This disc reflects the French love for dance expressed in the music of Maurice Ravel. His orchestrations are legendary for their colour and dynamism. Both elements are so very French in their sense of abandon yet require a technical precision only available to the finest ensembles under gifted leadership.
In the Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2 The Rotterdam Phil follow Nézet-Séguin through an impressionistic landscape where this large European orchestra often achieves a chamber ensemble intimacy. They repeat this in the Ma mère l’oye Suite and the Valses nobles et sentimentales. The real dynamism, however, reveals itself in La Valse, especially in the wild finale where 19th century traditions are torn apart and established truths satirically mocked by a cynicism rooted in the morbid trenches of WW1.
These performances are fluid and seamless. Repeated listening reveals new textures in the remarkable playing of the Rotterdam Phil. Nézet-Séguin clearly has this orchestra in hand and speaks their language.