Saturday, December 05, 2009

Strauss, Mozart, & Beethoven

Julian Kuerti conducted again tonight for the CSO, a follow-up to his performance with Yo-Yo Ma on Wednesday. The choice of pieces was completely pedestrian, and the small size of the crowd confirmed that. The train coming in was crowded because of the light parade (which was terrible) before the concert, but it appears that no one stayed for the show. A better program might have kept people around.

The opening was Richard Strauss's tone poem Don Juan, probably the best piece on the program. It's an orchestral showpiece, especially for the conductor. Unfortunately, Julian Kuerti's tempo changes must have been very hard to follow, as this was one of the sloppier performances I've heard form this orchestra. The horns, however, sounded fantastic, and were worth showing up for.

The horn feature continued with Mozart's Concerto #4, featuring principal horn player Michael Thornton. Aside from his obsession with his spit valve, his performance was very good. But it's not the kind of piece that will be a huge draw, even though the final movement is one of Mozart's most popular pieces.

After a lengthy intermission, the highlight of the evening was Beethoven's Symphony #4. One of his shorter symphonies (which resulted in a very short concert), it certainly has its moments. Kuerti did his best conducting on this piece, and got a very exciting performance out of the orchestra, particularly in the final movement.

I look forward to our next concert on New Year's Eve.

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