Review of Concert with the Helsinki Philharmonic
Original, strong-willed woman sets the beat
... In contrast, our image of this completely original, strong-willed woman broadened considerably with Dvorak's Eighth Symphony. At the beginning, she obtained an intense sound from the cello section, built the slow movement harmoniously into a sensitive and firm whole, and achieved a pleasantly melancholy mood in the dumka of the third movement. From the midst of the polished proceedings, many expressive solos could also be distinguished, so it must be admitted that the visiting maestro had really pressed all the music-making into her own mold.
... Gisèle Ben-Dor, from Uruguay, is probably the best known female conductor in the world today, and she has a natural authority in her conducting which many better-known male colleagues can only dream of. Once in a while, one gets the feeling that she tries a little too hard, but a second later everything seems very natural.
Ginastera's rhythm practically sent shivers up your spine and Dvorak's rhythmically challenging symphony emerged as something extremely natural.
Ben-Dor directed Dvorak by heart and the music seemed truly close to her heart. It emerged simultaneously as intuitive and spontaneous, and the smallest detail represented a conscious execution.
The phrasing, nuances, sound balance and, last but not least, the entire formulation of the entire symphony was superior - even if one perhaps might have enjoyed the final output even more - and the orchestra played as if it felt that symphony at that moment was the most important thing in the world.