Cristian Macelaru conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Anne-Sophie Mutter at Carnegie Hall on February 11, 2015
(Photo credit: Hiroyuki Ito)
Danish National Symphony Orchestra Honors Sibelius and Nielsen at Carnegie Hall
By James Oestreich
The New York Times
February 15, 2015
The Danish National Symphony Orchestra performed Sibelius’s ‘Valse Triste’ and Violin Concerto and Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony (“Inextinguishable”) at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening.
The Danish National Symphony (not to be confused with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, recently disbanded) was founded in 1925, and its distinctions include having given the Carnegie premiere of Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, in 1952. Its last music director was Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, from 2012 until his death last June.
Cristian Macelaru, the Romanian-born conductor in residence of the Philadelphia Orchestra, presided here, and the concert was dedicated to Mr. Frühbeck’s memory. The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, the soloist in the concerto, offered her own moving tribute to Mr. Frühbeck with an encore, the Sarabande from Bach’s Unaccompanied Partita in D minor.
The Danish players probably didn’t need much from Mr. Macelaru in the Nielsen, but he injected passion and drive, and they responded beautifully. The orchestra has a smooth, lovely string sound (announced at the outset in Sibelius’s “Valse Triste”), rustic-sounding woodwinds and incisive brasses. The dueling timpanists at the end of the symphony — René Felix Mathiesen and Lars Vestergaard Larsen — were, appropriately, showstoppers.
The orchestra’s encore, Nielsen’s ‘Maskarade’ Overture, was predictable but delicious.