Nathalie Stutzmann makes her debut with the Munich Philharmonic. – Munich

The French singer and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, newly appointed music director in Atlanta, makes her debut with the Munich Philharmonic.

What a fine, mournful and comforting November program with choir and orchestra of the Munich Philharmonic in the black and yet acoustically warm wooden box of the Isarphilharmonie: “Schicksalslied” based on Friedrich Hölderlin by Johannes Brahms, Max Reger’s “Requiem” and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth.

Nathalie Stutzmann, until recently the great contralto with the unmistakably deep voice, but now principal conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, first guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra and since this season also music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, triumphed in her debut with the Munich Philharmonic just as unpretentiously how precise and with astonishing economy also in their body language.

Even with Brahms and Reger one experienced differentiated music-making in the orchestra and with Wiebke Lehmkuhl when she sang Hebbel’s “Seele vergiss sie, Seele don’t forget the dead” with warm, flowing mezzo. And the Philharmonic Choir let the “Song of Destiny” shine almost throughout in the tone of the bright moments of the Brahms Requiem.

After the break, all concentration was on the colors of the orchestra: Tchaikovsky’s Fifth, which is so differently permeated by a fate motif that triumphs in a supposedly majestic way in the major key, rarely sounds so transparent and relaxed in the tempi, despite all the passion . It is astonishing how the Philharmoniker, who play extremely concisely and beautifully, are getting better and better at dealing with the acoustics of this hall, which differs significantly from that in the Gasteig and sometimes reaches its limits when the volume is too high.

None of that could be heard this time, and thanks to the finest agogic gradations and Stutzmann’s detailed work, the music was always happy to flow naturally, especially in the less somber inner movements. The mighty architecture of the finale then fanned out magnificently.

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