Stéphane wearing an auld-alliance Tartan kilt









Simon Thompson Seen and Heard International
All good things must come to an end, and so it is that, after seven remarkably successful years, Stéphane Denève tonight conducted his final concert as Music Director of the RSNO. Under his leadership the orchestra has evolved into a crack team of virtuosi, capable of looking any of the great bands of Europe in the eye, and their comfort with such a huge diversity of repertoire is perhaps his finest legacy to them. (…)  But it is perhaps in French repertoire that Denève has made his greatest mark. The RSNO is now, probably, the finest ensemble in these islands when it comes to playing French music and, after treating us to so much Debussy this season, it was with Ravel that Denève chose to make his exit. (…)  Denève himself repeatedly injected special flashes of colour into the music and, when it came to the finale, went hell-for-leather into the Bacchanal, all restraints thrown off for a joyous, blazing, tumultuous end, not just to an extraordinary performance, but to seven great years at the helm. After the final chords the entire Usher Hall rose to its feet for an ovation for a great musician, but also as a sign of the affection in which he has come to be held here. He will be much missed. Au revoir, Stéphane.

Read the article on Seen and Heard International here

Click the link below to read and/or download the article as a PDF:


Ken Walton The Scotsman
He did it with a kilt, which, together with his wild, tousled reddish hair, marked him out as the honorary Scot he has become during his seven years in charge of the orchestra.The kilt appeared in the second half of a farewell concert that had laughs, tears (Denève’s) and musical thrills in abundance – a programme deliberately representative of his current transition as a Frenchman relinquishing his Scots post in favour of his new musical directorship in Germany. (…) No holds barred in the Strauss either, lit up here by the sharp-edged virtuosity of the on-heat RSNO players, and thoroughly exhaustive in its conjuring up of the story.

But it was the Ravel that made the most lasting impact. With the full might of the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus, Denève shaped this delicious score with all the sensuousness of a Hollywood score.

Read the article on The Scotsman here

Click the link below to read and/or download the article as a PDF:


Jeremy Morris Bachtrack
In this, the last of his farewell programmes, Stéphane Denève bade au revoir to Edinburgh in front of an audience of the great and the good, containing ambassadors, diplomats and ministers as well as all his Edinburgh fans. There were speeches, presentations and more than a touch of the Hollywood Academy Awards Ceremony. (…) When the second half began, the conductor entered wearing a kilt of tricolour tartan, which the audience greeted with roars of approval and laughter. This Daphnis was no joke, however. The writing is immensely complex: at times each separate desk of strings seems to be doing something different. Denève held all the threads together and elicited some spectacular playing. The flute section, including a G flute, positively melted their solos, as did the clarinets. The muted trumpets raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Since the choral parts are wordless, the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus were integrated like additional instrumental resources, weaving fresh colours into the rich textures. If Phil Spector gave rock music the ‘wall of sound’, Denève’s RSNO gave us a tsunami. No sooner had it passed than the audience was on its feet in a richly-deserved standing ovation. Truly a thrilling and fitting end to seven years in Scotland.

Read the article on Bachtrack here

Click the link below to read and/or download the article as a PDF: