“What was so striking Thursday night about the combination was imagining what would have been lost in a recorded-soundtrack iteration. It’s not just the three-dimensional sound of real bells pealing from the percussion section as bells wave on screen, or even the mass of chorus sound that accounts for the impact.
But without live forces, details of the relationship between image and music couldn’t fully penetrate consciousness.”
“Stéphane Denève, the Frenchman who has a developing relationship with the orchestra, pulled energy and tenderness into some surprising junctures.”
“As if concluding a parable, the chorus hits us over the head at the end: If you die for Russia, you die a noble death. Set to music like this, the message becomes almost beautiful enough to believe.”