I’ve just returned from a sensational concert at the Salle Pleyel. I cannot recall the Orcehstre de Paris ever sounding anything close to as formidable as they were this evening. Lorin Maazel, who returned to the OdP after a decade of absence, led a colorful and characterful performance (with more than a few daring nuances of tempo and phrasing) of works by Ravel and Dukas – Ma mère l’oye, Tzigane (with OdP principal violinist Phillipe Aiche), L’Apprenti Sorcier, Rhapsodie espagnole, and La Valse, with the Farandole from Bizet’s L’Arlesienne as an encore.
The audience was wildly enthusiastic, and (knowing full well that this is probably going to ruffle the feathers of a couple of my friends who are frequent critics of Maazel) so was I. Under Maazel, The New York Philharmonic was never less than engaging and more often than not thrilling; this concert, easily the most enjoyable I’ve seen this season, makes me miss the level of playing he got from the Philharmonic.