January 22, 2024

Glowing praise for Gemma New and the Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona

Defeat and Memory
By Meritxell Tena
January 22, 2024

“On Saturday, 20 January on the Auditori de Barcelona’s stage, two ways of perceiving the past, through defeat and through triumph, converged at the hand of cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. And the conductor Gemma New, an effervescent and energetic conductor, knew how to squeeze every last drop out of an inspired OBC (Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and National Orchestra of Catalonia).”

“Queyras is a magician of clear, balanced, and homogenous sound and a master of the middle register, the impossible pianissimi, and languid, evanescent phrase endings. The interpretation of Elgar and Bach, which he performed as an encore, is mature, lucid, and distanced from artistic flourish: the cellist does not seek to show off with technical or strident ostentation. On the contrary, he successfully conveys melancholy for a world that is ending through serene acceptance of fate, practically from sweetness.”

“His elegiac and precious interpretation of the score, a favorite of many great cellists, was supported by Gemma New, who skillfully guided the OBC, enhancing Queyras in the most intimate moments and asserting herself with sharp and precise tutti (ensemble). Queryas was moved and this is probably the best praise one can give a musician.”

“In the second part of the evening, New impressed the audience thanks to a vibrant and passionate interpretation of Mendelssohn’s symphony. The conductor extracted a compact and balanced sound from the orchestra and demonstrated that intensity does not have to be synonymous with a rushed tempo, nor must an epic spirit translate into histrionics. Her interpretation was solemn and vigorous, with a touch of martiality that contrasted with the tone of death and defeat of the previous Elgar. The percussion’s nice performance and the excellent woodwind section contributed to this.”

Read the full review here.