Russian National Orchestra

Press Acclaim

Acclaim for Festival of the Arts BOCA 2009

"Perlman communicated well with the players, and they responded with stirring energy and considerable restraint when the music required it. The French horns were particularly brazen and barked out the rhythms as Beethoven must have really wanted. As a matter of balance, all fit in perfectly within the context. The Ninth Symphony... was even more thrilling than usual... the horns covered themselves in glory as their radiant tones came to the fore... Strings and woodwinds achieved great expressiveness as Perlman kept things flowing in rapt, otherworldly beauty. "

South Florida Classical Review (March 2009) [more]

"The top-notch Russian National Orchestra... performed Gordon Getty's Plump Jack Overture... The orchestra played it well under the evening's guest conductor, self-assured, young, Mexican Alondra de la Parra, who secured the many quick tempo and mood changes... The RNO produced a properly jazzy performance [of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue], its clarinet, trombone, and trumpet exaggerating the smears and wah-wah with evident relish... Nina Kotova [played] Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto... her glorious tone and fluid technique commanded, and she and the orchestra evoked more of the music's charm... Joshua Bell played Saint-Saens' Rondo Capriccioso with all the showiness the flamboyant piece invites. De la Parra then led Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony...she's well-trained, and has a good technique... the RNO sounded grand... [Earlier in the week] the RNO produced a strong, satisfying Beethoven Fifth Symphony under its founding conductor, Mikhail Pletnev. This performance enhanced his considerable stature and that of the orchestra, which prides itself on its Beethoven... the orchestra produced a deep sound and musical playing."

San Francisco Classical Voice (March 2009) [more]

"Had there been any doubt that the Russian National Orchestra is one of the major stars of this year's Festival of the Arts Boca, Friday night's concert at the 11-day music-and-literature gathering would have dispelled it. Given an unusual program with three soloists and widely varied music... it was crucial that the Moscow-based orchestra be able to hold everything together. And it did... In the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso of Camille Saint-Saens, [Joshua Bell's] tone was big and commanding, his mastery of virtuoso display thrilling...[In the slow movement of Saint-Saens'] First Cello Concerto, [Nina Kotova] indulged her beautiful, noble tone quality, which stood out elegantly against the orchestra's delicate playing... The concert opened with the Plump Jack Overture of Gordon Getty [which] has moments of musical distinction... such as a winking kind of motif in the violins.... The concert closed with the durable Ninth Symphony of Antonin Dvorak [which] the RNO played with glorious color and impressive power."

Palm Beach ArtsPaper (March 2009) [more]

Revelatory Beethoven from Pletnev

"We have reached the point as a civilization where you'd think there was absolutely nothing new someone could bring to the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven... And yet there it was tonight at the Festival of the Arts Boca: A performance of this 205-year-old masterwork that was sometimes head-shakingly odd and textually questionable, but that was overall so sensational that it had your ears on full alert and your eyes on the stage, wondering what was going to come next. It sounded new, it sounded bold, and it sounded revolutionary, and that is exactly what its composer would have wanted. This reading of the Fifth came courtesy of Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra... This is a large, powerful ensemble that must rank among the finer orchestras in the world, and [Pletnev] is willing to use everything his big band can give him, and that means plush, colorful and high-octane versions of these canonical works.... Then, too, was the sheer virtuosity of this orchestra, the lower strings blazing through the fugal passage that follows the initial C major blast of the finale, and easily brushing off all of the usual stumbling blocks in the symphony everywhere else. Mention should also be made of the nearly Brucknerian approach to the brass parts, especially in the finale, where the big perorations of the music were drenched with trumpet, horn and trombone color, an effect that pushed the work's sonic identity 50 years into the future. It was an exceptional presentation, full of power and majesty, tremendous light and sepulchral dark, and even though I couldn't agree with some of the choices Pletnev made, it was in every important sense an original rethinking of the Fifth. "

Palm Beach ArtsPaper (March 2009) [more]

"The Festival of the Arts BOCA program that violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Russian National Orchestra offered Saturday night [was] exciting and extraordinary... The Russian National Orchestra's sound was joyfully robust... They're a muscular and well-balanced group, with a full sound and a swaggering musicality."

Palm Beach Post (March 2009) [more]

"The all-Beethoven concert opened with the composer’s Second Symphony in a performance that emphasized lucidity and light textures... The Larghetto was beautifully played with some stunningly refined string execution, and the woodwinds were always clear, clean, and well blended within the orchestral fabric... In Pletnev’s hands... the piece took wing most effectively, and with a considerable amount of Classical restraint. Perlman... delivered the goods as soloist in Beethoven’s concerto, which was presented with both freshness and melting lyricism, as if this artist were presenting it for the first time."

South Florida Classical Review (March 2009) [more]