Stephen Smoliar
“(…) Denève’s command of hushed dynamics was equally effective in his opening of Barber’s Adagio. (…) While I have always had a personal preference for the intimacy of the quartet setting, Denève’s command of gradual change achieved almost that same level of intimacy even with the resources of a full string ensemble. (…) Curiously, the Rachmaninoff selection also began with an extremely hushed opening (although it took only a few measures for him to jump into much louder and far more energetic dynamics). (…) Denève certainly did his best in escorting the listener through its thematic ramblings. His command of orchestral resources was as impressive as it had been in the Britten concerto. Most importantly, however, he approached the Rachmaninoff score with a clear sense of where he wanted the climaxes to be (whether or not Rachmaninoff had given as much thought to this matter). The result may have been more like a thrilling roller coaster ride than a journey through a musical score; but Denève certainly knew how to keep his listening audience with him through all of those twists, turns, and loops. He certainly deserved the rousing round of applause dished out after the final measure.”

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