October accolades for François-Xavier Roth
François-Xavier Roth has received excellent reviews in the German press for his recent concerts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, as well internationally for his new release of Schumann Symphonies Nos.1 and 4 with Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne.
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Roth gave two concerts in Munich on 3 October, with a programme of Mozart's Symphony Nos.39 and 41, and Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments Op.24.
Münchner Merkur wrote: ‘He skilfully exploited the contrasts in the themes, dynamics and tempo, while maintaining the elegant flow of the music. The minuets lacked all coarseness, and the C major symphony seemed incredibly smooth. In its slow movement he dissected the events so delicately that no detail escaped the listener's attention.’
Abendzeitung München wrote: ‘Although Roth draws from the historically informed style, he implements it in an individual and unforced dramatic manner... The audience also took to Anton Webern’s Concerto for nine instruments, which mediated between the two Mozart symphonies. The musicians did not attempt to bring out the last remnants of late romantic and impressionistic moods, but played the work as clearly, crystalline and with radical precision as this greeting to Arnold Schönberg's 60th birthday was meant to be.’
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Roth then went to Berlin to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in four performances of a programme of C.P.E. Bach’s Symphony in D major, Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings and Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher, with soloist Tabea Zimmermann. The concert will soon be available on the Digital Concert Hall.
Berliner Morgenpost wrote: ‘He serves the needs of the Philharmonic for beautiful sound... He has conducted the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Cologne Opera since 2015, and you can hear it now: captivating opera drama in the outer movements of the Bartók Divertimento and seductive richness of colour in Hindemith's viola concerto Der Schwanendreher.’
Der Tagesspiel wrote: ‘The Berliner Philharmoniker under François-Xavier Roth dispels any corona melancholy... The French conductor is a leprechaun at the podium, a dancing maestro full of spirit.’
Roth’s most recent CDs have gathered praise from around the world. His release of Schumann’s First and Fourth Symphonies with Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne was chosen as Editor’s Choice in the October issue of Gramophone magazine and Orchestral Choice in the November issue of BBC Music Magazine.
Gramophone: ‘One of the most sheerly enjoyable Schumann symphony discs to have arrived in a while, finely played, gloriously recorded.’
BBC Music Magazine: ‘No orchestral composer of Schumann’s time benefits more from a low-fat, finely featured post-period approach, especially when it’s brought off as beautifully as by François-Xavier Roth and the Gürzenich Orchestra. I do mean beautifully: there’s a luminous clarity about the sound, but it’s never thin.’
The Arts Desk: ‘There’s affection in the slow movement and plenty of energy in the scherzo and finale, the latter’s joyous coda played to the hilt here, an exuberant explosion of good humour. A lovely disc, superbly engineered.’
Politiken: ‘He pushes and squeezes the music so that it gets both character in the individual details and overall movement forward. One sits at the edge of the seat when listening to what is hopefully the first release in a series of all of Schumann's four symphonies.’
Musicweb: ‘The playing of the Gürzenich-Orchester is absolutely first rate throughout and I admired François-Xavier Roth’s interpretations very much. I was completely convinced by these performances, not least because Roth so effectively allows Schumann to speak for himself.’
Photo with BRSO: BR/Astrid Ackermann