Quincena Musical San Sebastián 2011 (2) – Pan awakens for Yannick Nézet-Séguin

SpainSpain Mahler: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Orfeón Donostiarra (chorus), Karen Cargill (mezzo), Yannick Nézet-Séguin (conductor). Auditorio Kursaal. 13.8.2011. (JMI)

Mahler: Symphony No.3

San Sebastian’s Quincena Musical has programmed two concerts with the no longer rising but already well established Canadian star conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In his second concert he offered Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with his Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra. At only 36 years, Nézet-Séguin is one the most important figures in the music direction today, following Valery Gergiev in direction of the Rotterdam Orchestra and taking over the venerated if financially troubled Philadelphia Orchestra next season.

His interpretation of Mahler’s longest Symphony more than justified buzz and excitement about the lithe, diminutive, and sprightly conductor: He brought fervent excitement to the first movement and brilliance to the last, but he also conjured true and deep emotion from the beautiful third movement. Few times I have attended a concert where the audience was both overwhelmed and more than moved. In this Mahler year it was the best performance we have been offered. Mahler himself would have been happy.

Mr. Nezet Seguin flies high, very high. So much, that I guess it will be difficult to fit San Sebaastián into his busy schedule in the next few years, but perhaps the gratitude of the nearly ten-minute long ovations helps to coax him back sooner, rather than later.

The orchestra was excellent under his baton, without a single noticeable mistake from any of its sections during the 80-some minutes it lasted. The choral parts were sung by the San Sebastian Orfeón Donostiarra, who well complemented the excellent performance as did mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill.

José Mª Irurzun