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PARIS PHILHARMONIE INAUGRAL CONCERT –  14 JANUARY 2015

PARIS PHILHARMONIE INAUGRAL CONCERT –  14 JANUARY 2015
“What matters most, though, is the concert hall. And from first impressions it seems acoustically marvelous … On Wednesday, in its orchestra-concert configuration, the acoustics were enveloping in the best sense. You never felt swamped with orchestral bigness and brashness; though reverberant, the sound had detail and clarity …”

“… After intermission Mr. Jarvi conducted the premiere of a formidable 30-minute work: Thierry Escaich’s Concerto for Orchestra. The piece begins with primordial low rumblings that provoke the percussion to break into skittish fits. This episodic, vividly scored, gritty piece goes through lurching digressions, by turns combative, reflective and exploratory.”

“The program concluded with Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé,” Suite No. 2, in which the chorus took part. Ravel’s glittering, sensual, voluptuous music is a good show-and-tell project for a new hall. Mr. Jarvi tamped down the cinematic opulence of the music, letting arcs crest and subside. During some passages heavy brass playing covered the chorus. Still, the sound overall was dark, palpable and balanced.”
New York Times

“But the €390m question is: what does the hall sound like? …  In short: pretty stunning. I can’t remember a new hall sounding this good or this characterful at its opening, despite the fine-tuning that will no doubt happen over the coming weeks. There is a combination of dazzling clarity and generous depth in the sound that makes the whole range of orchestral possibility feel like a vivid physical presence, from the ethereal delicacies of the all-French programme – the magical flute solo in the Second Suite from Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé, or the intimate piano solo at the start of the slow movement of Ravel’s G major Concerto, played by Hélène Grimaud – to the huge tuttis, like the end of Daphnis, brilliantly realised by Järvi, or even the noisy note-spinning of the evening’s world premiere, Thierry Escaich’s Concerto for Orchestra. If the other 2,399 seats are as good as the one I was sitting in, I think that the Philharmonie could be one of the most dynamic and exciting places to hear orchestral music in the world – as well as the most fun simply to sit in, thanks to the combination of intimacy and imagination of the interior.”
The Guardian

“… this concert confirmed our first impressions. A warm acoustic, whose beautiful reverb does not harm the legibility of the music … Certain balances will of course be worked on … Meanwhile, what a joy to hear a powerful orchestral tutti resonate without lower saturation and with the comfortable feeling of space.”   Le Monde

“The concert starts with humor: Edgard Varèse’s “Tuning Up” …  First observation: the sound is extemely powerful. The crescendo that ends the piece shakes the spine: and the excitement builds for the 2400 spectators. Renaud Capuçon steps onstage to play Henri Dutilleux’s “Sur le même accord,” for violin and orchestra. The demonstration is made: the powerful sound is also respectful of the solo voice. This popular French violinist offers a deep commitment, a sweet tone and beautiful unity with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Paavo Järvi. In this hall with its undulating forms,  sound seems to descend like a bird that whirls on stage. And soaring is the theme of this construction which is second to none …”
Le Parisien

“The mood of the concert — given by the Orchestre de Paris, which will be the main resident ensemble — was also defiantly celebratory. Though it was dedicated to the “victims of terror” and included consoling extracts from Fauré’s Requiem, there was nothing mournful about the showy parade of Ravel and contemporary music that Paavo Järvi conducted. Despite there being almost no time for acoustic tests and adjustments, the space seems gloriously resonant. And Nouvel’s interior, an asymmetrical flying-circus of audaciously curved balconies that appear entirely unsupported by the interior’s birch-clad walls, is breathtaking. You can see why its construction went three years over deadline .. A world class concert hall.
The Times

“This is a hall which, with its suede like associations, awakens to the luxurious understatement of curved Art Deco furniture,  to the magical world of mermaids. It gives the impression of comfort, of generosity without ostentation, of strangeness that is not disturbing, but intriguing. The hall of Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie de Paris, which was inaugurated on January 14, is an architectural marvel of insinuating softness. Like a mental space in soft tones he puts the spirit of the concert-goer in a comforting state of suspension … allowing the audience to listen to music relaxed yet with senses wide-open … In an orchestra rehearsal, when one moved from one place to another, the sound seemed clear and corporeal, but at the same time embibed by a soft, warm finish.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“Yes, you have to admit it: when you stand in the rehearsal of the resident ensemble, the Orchestre de Paris, … this has become a fantastic hall. 2400 seats all together and yet intimate … Like in a womb the softly cushioned sound sinks you into coziness. But also, when the hall if packed the same evening, the sound is both warm and crystalline, with a classy, long, dark reverb.”
Die Welt