Shostakovich: scandalously successful.
[on the recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra / Deutsche Grammophon]
Nelsons leaned forward into the sound, sculpting the music with surpassing tenderness.
Nelsons’s performance [Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10] is mighty, marked by a wonderful nose for atmosphere [...] What makes Nelsons so lethally impressive here is the precision with which he addresses every accent, every ferocious sforzando. He is the most rhythmic of conductors. [...] Be in no doubt that this is one of the finest performances that I have ever heard of this great piece (it must surely bid fair for ‘best in catalogue’) and to say that it augurs well for Nelsons’s future with the Boston Symphony is an understatement and then some.
This [Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony] is thrilling music-making, already whetting the appetite for the next instalment: Symphonies 5, 8, and 9 next spring [Deutsche Grammophon].
Mr. Nelsons has brought a jolt of youthful energy, along with charisma and accomplishment [to the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall]. The audience gave Mr. Nelsons and the players an enormous ovation. Whatever the future, for now the Boston Symphony has placed its trust in a young dynamo.
This was a persuasive account [of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7]: texturally vital, musically alert, and sonically rich. […] Nelsons’s interpretation found a charismatic balance between weight and transparency of detail, from the diaphanous sheen of the pianissimo tremolos to the radiant brass-heavy climaxes of the first and second movements.
Every time I’ve seen him conduct - in Boston, Tanglewood, New York, and Bayreuth - he has set off brushfires of intensity. […] Nelsons produces full-body impact: instead of shattering about your ears, the sound engulfs you. He is a master at controlling dynamics to create a kinetic, fluctuating mass.
Nelsons’s Brummies [the CBSO] pump fresh air through the notes. […] His sunrise is sublime in the original, uncorrupted meaning of that word – an unfathomable beauty so awe-inspiring that it terrifies with the same intensity it beguiles. A sensibly paced tempo that refuses to let Strauss’s material become weighed down by its own import helps; […] Nelsons keeps a discreet distance, letting Strauss’s vibrant, alive harmony take the strain. […] I’m handing the ultimate accolade to Andris Nelsons, whose version embodies many of Karajan’s qualities while telling us lots we didn’t already know about this inscrutable, endlessly fascinating score. Nelsons is Superman.
Andris Nelsons conducted with keen focus and vigor, eliciting tonal beauty, technical precision and obvious engagement from the orchestra.
Friday’s concert, the last of Mr. Nelsons’s first subscription run [with the Boston Symphony Orchestra], was hardly lethargic. With an unusually large audience, the orchestra was engaged and the conductor infectiously dynamic with performances of Beethoven, Bartok and Tchaikovsky. It was just his fourth concert in his new role, but it felt as if Mr. Nelsons had been working under Symphony Hall’s golden proscenium arch for years. The orchestra already sounds cleaner, more unified and more focused than I have heard since James Levine’s departure in March 2011.
Nelsons’ treatment of the Fourth [Symphony of Beethoven with the CBSO] was startling. Like all outstanding conductors, he has the precious ability to conjure something unexpectedly brilliant out of thin air. He did it a year ago in another matinee concert with the CBSO in Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, and Beethoven’s Fourth here was cut from the same cloth. Its slow introduction seemed pregnant with dramatic possibilities, and what followed exploited most of them, with every rhythm sprung, every chord perfectly balanced, the perpetuum mobile of the finale fabulously precise.
For his part, Nelsons has deeply internalized this score [of Salome by Strauss], its idiom, and its pacing, to the point of almost dancing along on Thursday during his delicately shaped Dance of the Seven Veils.” Balances were for the most part carefully managed, allowing for a striking clarity of detail while also setting up for a handful of truly hair-raising moments when the conductor took the lid off the orchestra. But this was a performance more about finesse than raw firepower. During the famous kiss chords near the end the sound seemed to take on an almost physical quality, hanging in the air like a vapor.