A G A Z I N E S / N E W S P A P E R S
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra is a wonderful ensemble and gives a disciplined
and polished but by no means unspontaneous account of Shostakovich's Chamber
Symphony...Schnittke's 1979 Concerto for piano and strings
in which Constantine Orbelian both plays the solo part and conducts...has
telling power. This reading hits one between the eyes...a superb recording,
deep and warm and staggeringly true in spatial definition.
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra is as much the embodiment of a tradition
as it is a first-rate orchestral machine with all its parts in synergistic
harmony...the orchestra is in fine fettle, it still sounds profoundly
Russian, and it is now headed by a dynamic conductor who is taking it
into new reper toire realms...The collection of Shostakovich Waltzes...is
bracing, lyrically inspired and infectious. This seemingly easy’ music
requires virtuoso technique and a great deal of interpretive brinksmanship
to make it really work, and it receives a surfeit of both in these performances,
which capture its sparkle, wit, and often gracious irony...The Moscow
Chamber Orchestra's reading of Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony...is
sensitive to the delicate emotional subtleties passed over in other performances.
It is one of the most affecting readings of this masterpiece that I have
yet heard. The accompanying Schnittke Concerto for Piano and Strings
(1979) features Orbelian as soloist, and the results place it in the
must collect’ category for any fan (myself included) of this quirky and
enigmatic Russian composer...I found this disc especially compelling.
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra's performance of Tchaikovsky's oft recorded
Serenade for Strings teases out the work's inner voices to telling
effect. The playing conveys the feeling that the musicians are discovering
this chestnut for the first time, and are reveling in their discovery.
Tempos are gauged nearly perfectly, and the laser-accurate intonation
reveals the piece's harmonic subtlety most gratifyingly...The Seasons...receive
a beautifully intoned performance of often haunting delicacy.
BRAVO! (Headline) Some of life's great moments derive their greatness
from not only their intrinsic beauty, but also from our realization even
as they happen that they are, indeed, singular moments. About 800 Ketchikan
residents had such an experience on Friday...The audience from the teenager
in a tuxedo to the middle-aged man in work clothes recognized the collective
genius of these musicians...Orbelian beamed from the moment he took command
of the auditorium. He and the musicians saw equally beaming Alaskan faces
before them. Standing ovations were spontaneous and thunderous...Ketchikan's
children occasionally known for running about willy-nilly in some of the
town's more family-oriented venues were as attentive as any season-ticket-holding
DAILY NEWS (2/12/01)
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra presented a program of such beautifully executed
music Saturday evening at Atwood Concert hall that the half-capacity crowd
could barely catch its breath...All 20 instrumentalists were in such complete
communication that they sounded as one...[Concertmaster] Dmitry Khakhamov
left the audience spellbound with electrifying pace and agility in Bizet's
Fantasy on Themes from the Opera Carmen.
FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL (1/27/01)
The MCO showed itself a highly accomplished group, boasting superbly integrated
ensemble work and sensitive musicianship, consistently responsive to Orbelian's
BEACH POST (1/26/01)
The musicians spoke as one not as individuals or sections...the players
picked up on one another's subtle cues and nonverbal communications, over
and above their response to the conductor. That's coherence and musicianship;
TIMES-NEWS (CD review) (1/1/01)
[The Russian folk song arrangements are] played with a singing line that
almost breathes, and are heartbreakingly beautiful. So, too, are Orbelian's
readings of [Tchaikovsky's Seasons and Serenade for Strings], performed
with exceptional elegance and patrician refinement.
MORNING NEWS (10/28/00)
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra gained an international reputation 40-odd
years ago under the direction of Rudolf Barshai...but a program at the
University of Texas at Dallas on Friday night proved that his group is
still a wonderful orchestra. A lively program of attractive pieces lifted
the spirits and for once left a Dallas-area audience reluctant to leave
at the conclusion. [Grieg's Holberg Suite's] lovely melodies soared
in the Muscovites' performance. The Moscow Chamber Orchestra produces
an unusually rich and strong sound, with its 17 string players interacting
as true chamber musicians rather than just as a small orchestra...Mozart's
Symphony No. 29 in A was given a spirited performance...The three
[Piazzolla] tangos that concluded Friday night's program were surprisingly
varied in mood.... The Moscow orchestra made the Piazzolla hype seem justified.
LOS ANGELES TIMES (CD review) (10/15/00)
[Rachmaninoff's opera Aleko was] convincingly performed by conductor
Orbelian and his gifted colleagues.
BALTIMORE SUN (CD review) (9/21/00)
Conductor Constantine Orbelian approaches the opera [Rachmaninoff's Aleko]
with obvious affection, inspiring a committed, vivid performance.
AUDIO CRITIC (review of Shostakovich/Schnittke CD) (Fall 2000)
[Orbelian] undoubtedly has star quality, and his orchestra plays with
great passion and precision. The slashing string attacks are captured...with
Orbelian led...with an authentic musical style...as idiomatic and sympathetic
as this great singer [Ewa Podles] deserved.
EDMONTON SUN (2/26/00)
STANDING OVATION FOR MOSCOW CHAMBER (Headline) The Moscow Chamber Orchestra
was founded in 1956 and made its Edmonton debut at Winspear only last
night. It was worth the wait...[the MCO] shone throughout the evening
with a tone of transparency and warmth...From the first phrases [of Grieg's
Holberg Suite], the players revealed superb tuning, incisive rhythms
and immaculate tone...[Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives], five tiny,
aphoristic pieces that shimmer and tremble...were exquisitely played.
The evening's highlight, however, was Tchaikovsky's ravishing and inventive
Serenade for Strings. It was great to hear such a refined, noble
performance...everything sang and sparkled. A standing ovation was rewarded
with several encores.
ENSEMBLE CREATES FULL RANGE OF FEELINGS / Russian Group Shows Intense
Control Of Program (Headline) What the Moscow Chamber Orchestra did not
bring with them into Winspear Centre Friday night was probably just as
important as the cohesion, balance and musicianship that they did bring.
The night's two grand Romantic works, Grieg's Holberg Suite and
Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, did not lack for one moment
a full range of emotion. But conductor Constantine Orbelian presented
interpretations of these famous works that were remarkably free of overt
sentimentality. The results were refreshing and vivid...Grieg's suite
was a delight the final movement especially, with great Vivaldian solo
work from [concertmaster] Dmitry Khakhamov...[Schnittke's Piano Concerto
was] brilliantly and tautly controlled...Orbelian was very communicative
with his players, and the orchestra's sense of ensemble was truly remarkable.
This was something special.
ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS (2/14/00)
...played propulsively, with cogent details, great flexibility, and, at
the right times, a manic quality that hinted at the anguish under the
PENINSULA HERALD (2/11/00)
MOSCOW CHAMBER ORCHESTRA COMMANDS THREE ENCORES (Headline) The Moscow
Chamber Orchestra belied its name and perhaps surprised its audience by
offering a very cosmopolitan program...Five Amenian Folk Songs
was a delightful sounding assortment of folk songs, full of piquant rhythms
and catchy tunes...the musicians were sympathetic interpreters.... they
grew in energy until the last section a whirling dance in which they positively
gave off musical sparks...[In Mozart's Piano Concerto K.271 with
soloist Justin Blasdale] their polished, airy yet close-knit sound was
impressive. Orbelian captured the flavor of the era...Then came a finely
drawn and elegantly conceived performance of the Holberg Suite
by Edvard Grieg...The real treasure of the evening was a delightful enactment
of the charming legend that accompanies the Haydn's Farewell Symphony.
With the stage lit only by candles on the music stands, Orbelian led a
sparkling performance leading up to the point where each performer blows
out his candle and exits, leaving two lonely violins to bring the symphony
to a close in almost total darkness. In response to the applause of an
enthusiastic audience, three encores were performed.
LOS ANGELES TIMES (2/5/00)
TOUCHING, GRACEFUL CONCERT FROM MOSCOW CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (Headline) Happily,
[the MCO] seems to be in very capable hands these day...Tchaikovsky's
Serenade for Strings...despite relentless overexposure these days,
can still touch the listener given a deeply felt performance like this.
Seamlessly and fleetly handled, with arches forming within the sweeping
overall arches of each movement, no schmaltz, and some revelatory touches...it
sounded disarmingly natural...Alexander Aroutiunian's Violin Concerto,
a West Coast premiere... [was] sustained with remarkable concentration
by concertmaster Dmitry Khakhamov...Prior to Tchaikovsky there was room
for some bits of mischievous Shostakovich in the form of five Preludes...the
unusual encores were most ingratiating...a tangy Armenian folk song, a
yearning Astor Piazzolla tango and Vieuxtemps’ circusy fantasy
on Yankee Doodle.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (1/27/00)
MOSCOW CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OFFERS AN EMOTIONAL PACKAGE (Headline) On a chilly,
snowy, Moscow kind of night, a surprisingly large Corkin Theatre crowd
was warmed by an intriguing, sometimes challenging concert by the Moscow
Chamber Orchestra...[The MCO] and their conductor, Constantine Orbelian,
seemed right at home. In an unhackneyed offering of music by two countrymen,
the group showed no interest in dumbing down for the sake of Western tastes...It
was hard to outdo the first half for sheer boldness of programming: Orbelian
opened matters at the piano, brilliantly playing.... Schnittke's Concerto
for Piano and String Orchestra...Next, it was time for some Piazzolla
tangos, with the Muscovites joined by saxophone virtuoso Federico Mondelci
[who had a] sumptuous tone, faultless technique and commanding presence...[Shostakovich's
Chamber Symphony was] played with deep-felt emotion...Almost as
a dessert, Orbelian ended the evening with five bouncy, easy-to-take Armenian
Folk Songs, played with rhythmic punch.
JOURNAL SENTINEL (1/22/00)
MOSCOW PLAYERS WARM CONCERT HALL (Headline) The sound, born of supple
bowing and the generosity and grace of the gestures of conductor Constantine
Orbelian, was so lovely...Orbelian used his eloquent bare hands to draw
exquisite nuance from his skilled and attentive little orchestra. He and
his players reveled, especially, in their gorgeous pianissimo...sonic
beauty achieved to a surpassing degree.
MOINES REGISTER (1/20/00)
MOSCOW CHAMBER ORCHESTRA WARMS HEARTS, EARS OF CROWD (Headline) [The MCO]
warmed Stephens Auditorium in Ames Wednesday with humble virtuosity. A
large crowd filled the hall and left better prepared for the cold than
when they arrived. The Moscow Chamber Orchestra is considered the finest
chamber orchestra in Russia...The translucence of the sound was extraordinary...Orchestra
and soloist [Orbelian] were completely connected to the sheer beauty and
subtlety of the work [Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major].
BEACH DAILY NEWS (1/13/00)
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra...showed why it is considered a world-class
ensemble...a nimble and warm sound...the performance [of Haydn's Farewell
Symphony] was handled beautifully as the music dissolved into darkness.
(Daytona Beach) (1/13/00)
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra's Monday concert was noteworthy in many ways,
not the least in that it attracted a near-capacity audience...Not only
was the performance substantive and satisfying, its program was lively
and challenging and its range remarkably broad and intellectually engaging....
exquisite musicianship...Deftly performed, [Haydn's Farewell Symphony]
was a vivid testament to the MCO's masterful approach, and to its wilingness
to play and have a little fun while retaining the lofty musical standards
the orchestra has created since it was founded in in 1956...[They left
behind] an audience awed by its beauty and subtle, graceful seriousness.
PALM BEACH POST (1/12/00)
When [a chamber orchestra] performance is properly conceived and executed
it can present an intimacy and brilliance that is rare for any ensemble.
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra proved this Monday evening during its performance
at the Kravis Center of works by Elgar, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich....
THE NEW YORK POST (10/9/99)
MARVELOUS MUSICAL MIX FROM MOSCOW (Headline) The Moscow Chamber Orchestra
came to Carnegie Hall on Thursday with [a program] apparently calculated
to provide something for every taste, an aim in which it no doubt succeeded...[Schnittke's
Piano Concerto, with Constantine Orbelian as soloist] was the real
ear-catcher...lucid, crystal-clear...The orchestra itself had its best
chance to shine in Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, and shine
it did, delivering this elegant work with articulate grace and perfect
BUFFALO NEWS (10/4/99)
MOSCOW ORCHESTRA IS GENEROUS WITH TALENT AND ENCORES (Headline) ...the
performances were flat-out superb. [The MCO's performance of] Tchaikovksy's
resplendent Serenade for Strings accentuated the warm legato as
pects of the opening section...an extremely beautiful and sensitively
shaded account of the haunting Elegy and a lively, vital performance
of the final Theme and Variations...[Orbelian] revealed a wonderful
feeling for Schnittke's style...other-worldly mystery, eloquence and emotional
punch...extremely well played.
R E S E N T E R S
Bridger, The Artists Series, Tallahassee, FL
The MCO was absolutely fabulous!! We had the best audience of any Artist
Series concert ever, and it was a terrific way to open the season! Even
the high school students were enthralled, especially because they were
able to get Massimo's autograph. We had a lovely reception afterward that
the Artist Series Guild worked hard to "produce." I feel confident that
the musicians all enjoyed it as well...And I really enjoyed meeting Constantine--what
a jovial person and a wonderful conductor! It was definitely a huge success!
Helmick, Indian Wells Valley Concert Association
The performance here by MCO on Oct.2 was SUPERB! Over the years we have
had a number of outstanding concerts by various chamber orchestras, but
I think this one was the outstanding among the outstanding. All the comments
I have heard have been highly favorable. The performers adapted well to
the makeshift venue, necessitated by the unavailability of our home auditorium
on the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, after 54 years. The five
scheduled works...were all delightful compositions, exquisitely played.
It was impossible to pick a favorite. Each was the favorite as it came
along...The versatility of the orchestra was evident not only in the main
program, but in the three encores played, each highlighting a different
musician in the orchestra as soloist...Our audience was attentive and
appreciative throughout, responding with a prompt standing ovation (not
common for our audience)...All in all, a stunning concert!
Prechtel, Fairbanks Concert Association
The MCO was a jewel in our season! It was such an honor and a joy to have
this this distinguished orchestra in town. All went beautifully. The residencies
were well attended and very successful, the evening concert was stellar,
truly outstanding, and several standing ovations of a most enthusiastic
audience expressed interior Alaskans' appreciation. As you know, Lisa,
there were some tensions on our board regarding the addition of "another
event". However, the glorious MCO turned all this around. Our board was
grateful and extremely pleased. Thank you, Lisa. An especially warm thank-you
also to Constantine. His gracious commitment to enrich this community
has made all the difference. He is an extraordinary man and it was quite
a privilege to work with him.
Peggy Skiles, Yuba-Sutter Arts Council, CA
The concert was fabulous and Maestro Orbelian is wonderful both as a pianist
and as a person to deal with. We had a great turn out; the hall was comfortably
full and everyone loved it. Three encores!
Kathryn Evans, University of Texas at Dallas
Everything went great! Huge success, sold-out crowd, fabulous concert!
Cindy Calabrese, Brevard College
WOW!! I and a nearly sold out house were so amazed and thrilled with last
night's performance by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Not only did they
play amazingly well, but they were so great to work with. We do need to
talk about other future groups, but I would love to know the availability
of MCO for 2001/02.
Ewa Bornstein, Millikin University
The orchestra was wonderful and very much appreciated by the audience.
Maestro Orbelian was very charming and personable. Great experience and
R. Wilkins (Anchorage Concert Association)
The MCO concert in Anchorage was a great success. It came off without
a hitch... The orchestra and its musicians are phenomenal - they deserve
every word of praise ever lavished on them. There were three (or was it
four?) standing ovations. Orbelian obliged with three encores. Everybody
loved it, especially our small resident population of Russian emigres.
I'm happy that you were able to work out a real Alaska tour for them.
You must have worked really hard to achieve that.
Sybil Davis (Juneau Arts and Humanities Council)
The MCO was utterly fab! The audience loved them, Constantine is probably
one of the most relaxed and fun men I've met. He was very indulgent of
us -- our normal auditorium manager was gone, and although things went
well, they could have been smoother..but we all managed, and I really
appreciate his good naturedness. We had a lovely reception for them afterward
at their hotel, and the dinner before the concert was also well appointed.
I would love to get them back to do an orchestral institute...I don't
know how realistic it all is, but it's a little dream that Ketchikan,
and Juneau are entertaining. more as it develops. They were the absolute
highlight of our season Lisa, Thanks for alerting me to them.
Carol Thompson, Georgia Southern College
MCO is absolutely fantastic!! The program was terrific. The audience had
nothing but the highest praise for the concert. They were professional
and easy to work with. Thank you so much for bringing them to my attention
and working with me on the price, so that I could afford to present them.
If MCO does a southeast tour again, please let me know.
© 2004 Moscow Chamber Orchestra.