The Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons is less a media stunt than his colleague Gustavo Dudamel. However, he is “the other » young conductor of the beginning of our century. At 35, he is one of the busiest conductors in the classical music world. For now, he is the principal conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has just been elected as the new music director of the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also in the “top 4” of the conductors who can potentially succeed, in 2018, to Sir Simon Rattle as the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.
The Symphony No. 9 by Antonín Dvořák is one of his greatest hits. Andris Nelsons conducts this score like an “orchestral festival”. He conducts just for the sake of music. The tempi are lively and the orchestral ram effects are really explosives (the last notes of the first movement or the scherzo are models of great orchestral class) . The musicians of the orchestra are “on parade” and they show a technical « Deutsche Qualität » in particulary in the dialogue of the woodwinds in the « Largo », one of the finest interpretations in the complete discography of the New World Symphony. This recording is, together with the recording of Mariss Jansons in Amsterdam (RCO Live), one of the most important since the year 2000.
We can measure the quality of a conductor from his ability to transcend a subordinate music. So, Andris Nelsons atomizes any concurrence in the Hero’s song (Heldenlied). Composed in 1897 and created by Mahler, the following year, this symphonic poem is not the best symphonic poem by the composer. This score lacks a narrative touch and it is too loud. However, Andris Nelsons imposes a dramatic climate, where the Czech forests, inhabited by evil shadows become ghostly and stifling. This art of conducting is ultra-virtuoso and the quality of the orchestra is absolutely amazing.