Bernard Jacobson Seen and Heard International
“This was a concert of massive proportions—with a full hour of music in each half—and, happily, of no less massive achievement. “I hope,” I wrote after his last appearance on the Benaroya Hall podium, “we shall hear Denève again very soon.” That was in 2007. This return engagement came by no means soon, but still to excellent effect.

I don’t know whether the 42-year-old French conductor has a speciality, but two concerts-worth of repertoire have sufficed to demonstrate his versatility in several different styles of music. (…)

Last time, in praising Denève, I singled out “the sensitivity of his ear, his rhythmic intensity, and his unerring sense of style and emotional tone.” Those qualities were again amply in evidence, and they contributed to a performance of Rachmaninoff’s spacious Second Symphony that did full justice to the awe-inspiring orchestral imagination of a work too often overlooked in surveys of the late-romantic symphonic repertoire.

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