The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra recently completed a very successful tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Reviews from the often sold-out concerts have been formidable and reports of standing ovations and ecstatic audiences give further proof to the notion that OPO belongs to the Premier League of European orchestras.
Conducted by Andre Previn and with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra played seven well-received concerts in Munich, Bonn, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Zurich and Basel from 9 to 17 March. Many of the large concert halls were sold-out and extra concerts had to be staged. Reviews have been rave, giving further proof to a general impression of an in-form and spirited orchestra.
In between rehearsals, sound checks and a busy travel itinerary, the orchestra members found time to write a tour diary that’s now published at OPO’s web-site . Here are a few excerpts from the tour diary:
The tour began in Munich on 9 March, and the city’s musical grand hall was filled to the last remaining seat (3 300). The fact that the orchestra played the same hall as late as November last year had seemingly created a desire for more. Naturally, Anne-Sophie Mutter being the city’s great daughter, contributed to the immense interest. She was given a tumultuous applause after the first German performance of Previn’s Violin Concerto. As was the orchestra, prior to and after the pause for the performance of Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7.
The orchestra had also played Bonn’s Beethovenhalle last autumn as they performed the opening concerto of the Beethoven Festival. Conductor, soloist and orchestra were again greeted with massive applause from a full concert hall.
After another sold-out and in every way highly successful concert in Hamburg’s Musikhalle, the journey continued by airplane to Innsbruck. The city has a magnificent concert hall with a capacity of 1000 seats – all of which were sold at prices twice as expensive as Oslo’s.
Zurich is one of the European cities in which the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys one of its strongest positions – courtesy of a number of visits under the leadership of Mariss Jansons. The city’s premier concert hall, the venerable Tonhalle, is one of the musicians’ acoustic favourites. A sold-out hall enjoyed a warm meeting with the popular Oslo orchestra.
OPO had not played in Basel for more than ten years, and many of the musicians had never experienced the beautiful and acoustically splendid concert hall. The demand for tickets was so strong an extra concert had to be staged. The use of the phrase standing ovations is fully valid in order to describe the Basel audience’s response.
Critics were overwhelmed by the OPO’s performances; here are a few quotes from the press:
Prior to the Violin Concerto, the “Faunen” had revealed the orchestra’s qualities. The warm and harmonious ensemble timbre, from which the solos carefully emancipate, fits Debussy perfectly. So do Previn in his role, he doesn’t regard this work with the eyes of a water- colour master painter, but instead approaches it skilfully in an unpretentious fashion. An offensive, weighty and salutary performance. Markus Thiel - Müchner Merkur
The Oslo orchestra left no one in doubt whether if they are in the premier European league, neither in Debussy’s tonal poem nor in Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7. To hear this rhythmic feast and the transformation, the splitting and re-formulation of the rhythmic base idea through four breathless and exciting movements brings out an unconditional joy. Lutz Lesle – Die Welt
Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra enthuses with a masterly performed concert. The audience in the sold-out concert hall knew to appreciate all of it (conductor, soloist and orchestra). The standing ovations for Anne-Sophie Mutter, André Previn and an Oslo orchestra rich in tradition, was more than pure enthusiasm – it was also an expression of deep acknowledgement of grand artistic achievement. AG (Austria)
Sans exaggerated drama, Previn presented the major dynamic shifts, and all four movements were given an equal general force and passion. To the very end, the music was steered skilfully with bounce and harmony. Tiroler Tageszeitung
A master concert played by true masters! Moni Brüggeller – Kronenzeitung (Austria)