Montreal’s second orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, got positive press for their concert at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) last Friday (December 1, 2017). Joachim Mischke, Hamburg’s leading and most knowledgeable music critic, wrote a comprehensive and inspiring review about the event (Hamburg Abendblatt, December 4).
Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was described as a bundle of energy who got the ball rolling in Pierre Mercure’s Kaléidoscope, demonstrating in detail the orchestra’s collective articulation accuracy.
“Berlioz’s orchestral songs cycle Les nuits d’été became the finest moment, as the orchestra conjured nuances and played enchantingly discreet. But above all, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux savored every syllable of the text with longing.
“Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, well-known here as a regular with the Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz, opened the second part of the concert as soloist in Camille Saint-Saëns’s Cello concerto.
“What followed was a big showcase for big orchestra: Elgar’s Enigma Variations. For Nézet-Séguin, it was the last chance to give full throttle: rich brass, sonorous strings, and magnificent reminiscences of the Land of hope and glory.
“The Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal earned and received great cheers. As an encore, Ravel’s Pavane was played by an orchestra that should no longer be underestimated under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.”
The Hamburg edition of Die Welt (The World) wrote an equally positive review, headlined: “Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal sets new standards.”
“The orchestra is hard to beat to top quality standards. It inspired right away. What Yannick Nézet-Séguin has achieved in 17 years in fine tuning deserves the utmost respect.”