“(… ) Over the past nine years of regular visits to Toronto, Denève has proven himself to be a reliably fascinating musical sculptor. Thursday was no exception as he led a programme that consisted of an orchestral suite created by James MacMillan from the interludes in his 2007 opera The Sacrifice, the Violin Concerto by Benjamin Britten, who would have turned 100 this month had he not died in 1976, and the “Eroica” Symphony No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven. (…)

Those who attended were treated to spectacular musicmaking – nowhere more evident than in the Britten Concerto. (…)

The Toronto Symphony players were as disciplined and as fine-sounding as the Mariinsky Orchestra throughout Thursday’s concert. Denève, in turn, showcased his talent for underlining and colouring and adding texture to music that all too easily can turn leaden. (…)

But at the hands of a master like Denève, it sounded alive, relevant and riveting. The most beautiful thing was witnessing how an orchestra can capture a listener’s attention and emotions as effectively with gossamer pianissimo playing as with ear-splitting fortissimos.

The whisper is an underappreciated tool in our noisy times – but Denève knows exactly how to use it. (…)

This week’s Toronto Symphony concerts with maestro Denève are not examples of light family entertainment; they are showcases of powerful musicianship, artfully applied.”

John Terauds Musical Toronto

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