Like a synchronized swimmer who lifts her arms up and out creating a cascade of water droplets in a flourish, Conductor Christoph Eschenbach majestically led the National Symphony Orchestra in an exquisite program last weekend, frequently bending slightly at the knee and raising his arms straight up to give notice to the musicians that he wanted flourish, and flourish he got.
With the wave of his baton and a sprinkling of music dust, the orchestra performed flawlessly (at least, to my ears).
When measures arrived for timpani, cymbals, and horns, Eschenbach gave a quick uptick with his body which said “right here and now!” and the musicians gleefully complied. They seemed to love the instruction which paid off in the enthusiasm of the audience who was in rapture as well.
I became so wrung out and exhausted just watching from my statutory position “down below” (my eye level matched the shoes of the musicians) that I was certainly able to shed most of my dinner calories. Talk about moving at your station, Michelle!
“Look at him,” said the woman behind me as Conductor Eschenbach slowly (and I mean slowly) approached the podium from offstage for yet another encore: “He can barely walk.” It was true, and one wondered how sore he would be on the morrow when he had another concert to conduct.
Sitting beside me was most assuredly the fiancee? The sister? of the guest cellist, Claudio Bohorquez from Germany, for she of blonde hair and in flowered skirt leaped to her feet upon conclusion of Lalo's Cello Concerto in D minor, to clap madly for a few moments in a solo arrangement before other members of the audience joined to applaud Bohorquez's masterful play.
The rest of the program was excellent fare beginning with Overture, le carnaval romain by Berlioz and ending the evening with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. It was a splendid night.
Mesdames and Messieurs, s'il vous plait!
Bravo! Maestro Eschenbach! Bravo! National Symphony Orchestra!