Conductor Claus Peter Flor is back with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra this weekend, and a Flor appearance almost invariably means that something special is in store for the DSO’s audience. His concert on Thursday night did not disappoint. With the superb violinist James Ehnes added to the mix, this was one of the season’s high points.
Flor opened the evening with Dvorak’s rarely heard The Wood Dove (in fact, this was its Dallas premiere — 112 years late!). This gloomy tone poem is first-rate Dvorak, though not really in the same league as the composer’s very greatest (and most popular) works. In Flor’s hands it became a vivid three-dimensional piece, full of telling variety in tempo and dynamics. Some excellent solo playing and sectional work within the DSO was also a factor.
Ehnes, who made a brilliant impression in Fort Worth recently, was the soloist in Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. This work hardly qualifies as a masterpiece, but in the sure hands of Flor and Ehnes, whose gorgeous tone combines lyrical beauty with technical mastery, who could complain?
Franck’s Symphony in D minor was given an exceptionally dramatic performance by Flor and the orchestra, which again was in top form. This refreshing look at a familiar old work is the sort of thing you hope for at every concert.
The program will be repeated Friday through Sunday, with the Dvorak omitted from the “Casual Friday” program this evening.
DSO music director Jaap van Zweden will be back next week for the final three weekends of the regular season. Incidentally, Van Zweden, who has made quite a splash in guest-conducting engagements around the country, will step in next summer to fill a vacancy at the Aspen Music Festival. For details, click here.