The conductor John Nelson was clearly born with Berlioz in his genes and his commitment to its enchanting ballet interludes and martial swagger, as well as it impassioned romantic idealism, is absolute.
- The Daily Telegraph
(5 stars, Les Troyens recording)
At present there are few conductors who, like John Nelson, can rightly be called 'Berlioz experts.' The Museumsorchester was transformed under his conductorship. The realisation of the instrumentation was breathtaking, unusual colour combinations emerged so naturally, the flow from light to shade was so transparent, so gripping the sprays of sparks, the dynamic peaks. And it was a joy to hear the choruses and singers being not only led, but lifted, transported. They seemed to be electrified, a current passing through them, from the triumphant opening notes to the final chord.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
From the first to the last minute of this 5-hour performance John Nelson expertly controlled the timing, the polyphony, the balance of the powerful orchestra and choruses, reducing them to a minimum for the Dido and Aeneas love duet, and the intensity and tension of every phrase of this score, which he had totally mastered. This score, which for a long time was said to be unplayable, was here realised to perfection, and was held aloft before the audience at the final applause.
- Opera Online
John Nelson proves to be a master at the desk of the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumorchesters and treats the drama of the music with differentiation. At the end of the evening he is deservedly greeted with tumultuous applause.
We must first of all honour the energy and impeccable conducting of the renowned Berlioz expert, John Nelson. He was in total control, and directed the 350 performers in this great Romantic opera with perfection.
- Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace
John Nelson took everyone to the summit. He has an intimate knowledge and a true vision of Les Troyens, developed over many years. He drew back the bow to its limit and made of this concert a great theatrical experience.
- L'Avant-Scène Opéra no. 128-129
(Didier van Moere)
John Nelson conducted and the orchestra (New York Philharmonic) produced the liveliest, most polished and committed playing I have heard from it this season.
- The New Yorker
Maestro Nelson succeeds in giving us a recording (Handel L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato) that - in its ideal balance and crystalline clarity - is texturally superior, properly weighted at the appropriate points, and offers fastidious attention to the most minute details. The result is a presentation that is exceptionally imaginative and rewarding throughout, one that decidedly deserves a niche in our Classical Hall of Fame.
- Fanfare Magazine
Quite simply, one of the most exciting experiences this listener has ever had in the concert hall.
- The Atlanta Journal
John Nelson...clearly has the measure, as much as anyone, of this score (Beethoven Missa Solemnis, European Chamber Orchestra) and succeeds in conveying the urgency of his view with gestures and expressions that are eloquent and undemonstrative. It seems unlikely that Beethoven's vision in this work will ever be more completely captured.
- BBC Music Magazine (Music DVD Choice)
What was offered was the finest music expressed with the highest sensitivity…elegant and virtuosic, a profoundly un-pretentious expression and dance-like grace became, under the sovereign direction of Nelson, a radiant painting of sound.
- Mittelbadische Presse
(Schnittke, Haydn, Part, Mozart, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra)
John Nelson's temperament and heart return to some identifiable signposts for those who are drawn to the inner wonders of this visceral and shimmering journey... the corporate momentum in this reading is quite compelling... Nelson gets to the core of this work with his avuncular didacticism and genial control... true characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail [Schola Cantorum of Oxford] which fuels Nelson's rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew.
- Gramophone Magazine
(St Matthew Passion DVD Review)