Saturday was a great day for music in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On Saturday afternoon the Miró Quartet, a resident ensemble at UT-Austin, gave a magnificent performance in Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum, opening the Fort Worth Chamber Music Society’s season and immediately becoming one of my favorite string quartets.
Then, on Saturday night, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra gave a marvelous performance before a glittery audience in the Meyerson Symphony Center. For the second year in a row, it was a brilliant beginning of a DSO season.
The musical captain of the AT&T Gala was, of course, Jaap van Zweden. The superstar soloist was cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The music was Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Schumann’s Cello Concerto. (Strangely enough, the only mention in the printed program of the music to be played was two lines in small type near the bottom of Page 8. Well, it’s important to keep things in proper perspective, I guess.)
Van Zweden certainly didn’t lead a small-type performance. The New World was played with enormous vigor in the quick movements and much lyric beauty in the slow movement. The overall orchestral sound was impressive throughout, as was the playing of individuals in solo passages (David Matthews well deserved the acknowledgment he got from Van Zweden for the famous slow-movement solo for English horn).
My only complaint was that the orchestra was often too loud. Maybe it was the area where I was sitting, but the Meyerson certainly doesn’t deaden sound and in this case less magnification would have been welcome.
Still, it was exciting, as was the hyper performance of a Dvorak Slavonic dance played as an encore.
Less hyper was the performance of the Schumann concerto, played with equal parts loving lyricism and bold dramatic skill by Ma and the orchestra. DSO principal cellist Christopher Adkins was an able partner in an episode for two cellos.
The DSO’s regular schedule begins on Thursday with more Schumann, plus Berlioz, Debussy and Respighi.