Nézet-Séguin's Schumann Symphonies

June 9, 2014

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, one of today's most compelling young conductors, traverses the four symphonies by Schumann with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.



Boston is rightly energized in anticipation of the arrival of conductor Andris Nelsons as the new leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The 35-year-old Latvian has demonstrated here and elsewhere a magnetic sense of timing, interpretation, and chemistry with the world's greatest orchestras. But Nelsons isn't the only highly gifted 30-something conductor igniting excitement on orchestral stages.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra

(photo by Ryan Donnell, courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra)

39-year-old French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has just wrapped up his second full season as the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He's also the Music Director of Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal. Busy man.

After his single appearance with the BSO, in 2009, Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe described his presence on the podium as "a whirl of irrepressible energy ... vividly demonstrative and almost dance-like, [which] drew vibrant performances from the orchestra, at once structurally coherent and viscerally exciting."

For his latest recording, Nézet-Séguin took those qualities to yet another orchestra - the Chamber Orchestra of Europe - in an exploration of the four symphonies by Robert Schumann.

Each a distinct window on the fascinating reality Schumann inhabited, the symphonies are brilliant, but also problematic. The composer's idiosyncracies demand a thoughtful approach by conductor and player alike. Nézet-Séguin and the COE approach these issues not as problems to fix but rather opportunities to embrace.


The result is a vibrant collection, filled with gusto and beauty. But the performances - recorded in concert - also deliver just the right touch of raw grit to avoid the kind of excessively polished sheen that can construct a barrier to the core of human emotion Schumann was so adept at expressing.

According to Colin Anderson at Sinfini Music, "Throughout these compassionate readings strings and winds are equals, with detail beguilingly revealed, and the recording is lucid and beautifully balanced. There are numerous notable versions of these timeless classics, but Nézet-Séguin’s dynamic, closely-observed approach really hits the spot."

For more information about this recording, visit the ArkivMusic.


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