Stephan Hoffman, Mannheimer Morgen, 12th March 2019

“At the concert at Mannheimer Rosengarten, it was immediately obvious: The two are a match made in heaven. The orchestra played Beethoven’s Second Symphony with more speed and verve, more fire and precision than ever before. The musicians went to a number of extremes: extremely quiet, extremely pointed, extremely uniform. All of this speaks for some extremely successful rehearsing. This is probably most evident in the tempi, which were often extreme. During the main part of the first movement and in the final movement, you couldn’t help but ask yourself, “Can they really keep up such a tempo?” They did. During Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, Michael Francis had already demonstrated how much explosive energy is contained within him and, as a result, within the orchestra. And these dances are no different from, for example, waltzes. The secret lies in the variations in tempo. And they can only work if the orchestra meticulously follows its conductor.”