18th April 2024, Uwe Rauschelbach, Mannheimer Morgen

“Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and his Fifth Symphony in one evening – as a concert-goer you are a little intimidated and feel the need for less opulence after the break at the latest. And yet, after the concert with the German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate, you go home without any symptoms of oversaturation.

This is also due to the unpretentious way in which conductor Michael Francis handles Tchaikovsky’s Fifth. Not disrespectfully, but with pointed sobriety and dry pathos. The format of this symphony, which is bursting with colorful tonality, does not suffer from this, but rather retains its greatness. The orchestra exudes cheerful serenity, including beautiful moments such as the horn solo at the beginning of the second movement.”