The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s audiences have become accustomed to supercharged programs led by music director Jaap van Zweden. This weekend’s concerts demonstrate that the magic can be there even when Van Zweden isn’t.
Thursday night’s concert in the Meyerson Symphony Center, led by guest conductor Carlo Rizzi, was highlighted by a fabulous performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ever-popular Scheherazade that eliminated any sense of routine.
One remarkable thing was the gorgeous playing of co-concertmaster Nathan Olson in the violin solos that reappear throughout the work. His lovely tone and on-the-mark precision made one eager for each appearance.
But he wasn’t the only standout. Virtually every principal in the orchestra had moments in the spotlight (Rimsky-Korsakov was a master of orchestration) with pleasing results. And the overall effect produced by Rizzi’s atmospheric and flowing interpretation and the orchestra’s cohesion was memorable.
Not quite as spectacular but still strongly on the plus side were Kabalevsky’s short and bright Overture to Colas Breugnon and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with the young German Markus Pawlik as soloist. Aside from the ruminative slow movement, the concerto was given a rather brisk performance that was solid and free of showboating. The collaboration of Rizzi and the orchestra was a strong element.
The Rangers baseball cap that Olson sported on his first appearance last week was on Rizzi’s head this time. The audience loved the lighthearted salute to the Rangers both times. Olson also announced the score during a break at the bottom of the sixth inning, when it appeared the Rangers were going to win.
If you can tear yourself away from the World Series, tonight’s repetition by the DSO is highly recommendable. If you can’t, there’s another repetition Saturday night.