"From the Prague Autumn Festival"
... The massively Romantic reading of the score of Fibich’s symphonic poem Toman and the Wood Nymph delighted us both for the very fact that a guest ensemble had included it in their program and also for the smooth and transparent interpretation.
Britten’s Violin Concerto took on unusual parameters with spectacular German artist Frank Peter Zimmermann as soloist. He fulfilled expectations gloriously with the perfection of his playing and his tonal qualities; moreover, the work itself, not too often performed in the Czech Republic, came almost as a revelation.
In Brahms‘s First Symphony, interpreted by conductor-in-chief Jonathan Nott as a struggle, often at high dynamics, one would in places have liked a more cultivated sound...
...The second concert by the Bamberg Orchestra had a natural centrepiece – Bruckner’s „Romantic“ Symphony in E flat major. Nott focused more on tectonics than on detail work and instrumental alignment. Nonetheless, the interpretation was one of the best things I’ve heard in Prague.
Beethoven’s Consecration of the House, which contains a few strong passages, was followed by Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Oboe Concerto: lovely expanses of
music which soften up the late Romantic musical idiom that has been expressed a thousand times alternated with a mixture of folk airs. Oboist Albrecht Mayer played fabulously, and his middle and upper registers in particular were excellent....
Petr Veber / Luboš Stehlík, Harmony (Tschechien), November 2007
"The Bamberg Symphony and Frank Peter Zimmermann in Prague"
...Zimmermann’s technique is phenomenal (...), and the violinist can thus concentrate all his effort on creating tone and interpretive account of the work, which teemed with just about all the kinds of nuance we can imagine. Britten’s concerto is moreover beautifully written and fabulously orchestrated, the composer not even fearing such combinations as for example a tuba with two piccolos. Albeit integrally bound to the whole of the work, the violin still constantly shines above the whole orchestra like a jewel. ...
In Zimmermann’s hands the violin came fully to life, and passed from one mood to another – from the effervescently roguish through the meditative all the way to the sadly nostalgic, bringing on the feeling of complete hopelessness with which the concerto ends. The encore which the tireless audience literally applauded out of him led us into quite a different world, that being the philosophic one of Bach‘s violin sonatas, from which we heard the third movement, Andante, of Sonata No. 2 in A minor.
This was a really marvellous experience, made possible by the extraordinary, ultra-richly coloured playing by the members of the Bamberg Symphony, who along with this sensitive although by no means underplayed accompaniment also presented Fibich‘s nocturnemooded Romantic symphonic picture No. 9, Toman and the Wood Nymph and Brahms’s masterful Symphony No. 1 in C major, op. 68. In both works the orchestra members showed themselves to be a perfectly compact ensemble which not only responds with the greatest attention to Nott’s every gesture but which also brings to their playing their own personal contribution including the excellent solos, among which the solo oboe stood out in particular.
...For that reason too their performance of Brahms met with such stormy approval that they had to offer an encore. What else could it have been but Nott’s beloved Ligeti (...), from whose works this time he chose the superb Romanian Concerto (at last beautifully played in Dvo
řák Hall) and Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 1. Certainly one of the very best evenings of the whole festival.
Hana Jarolímková, Hudební rozhledy (Musical View), November 2007