On Saturday we heard the Philharmonic perform Beethoven's Overture to Coriolan, Korngold's Violin Concerto with soloist Leonidas Kavakos, and Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 3, all conducted by Alan Gilbert. Barring a last-minute offer of tickets to this week's season finale series, Saturday's was the last concert of the season for us.
I enjoyed the Beethoven but I thought the piece could have used a little more drama. It's an energetic, powerful work but I didn't feel drawn into the performance. On the other hand, Kavakos provided all the drama and energy the audience needed for Korngold's gorgeous Violin Concerto. I thought the orchestra and soloist did an excellent job balancing each other, with Gilbert allowing Kavakos' lyricism to shine.
After intermission, the Philharmonic performed Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 for only the second time in the organization's history. Alan Gilbert has expressed a desire to expose Philharmonic audiences to Nielsen, and the orchestra provided a great showcase for this underrated symphony. I especially enjoyed the second movement with its wordless solos for soprano and baritone, and the finale with its lush Romantic melody for strings and horns. I didn't know much of Nielsen's music until a few years ago but he's quickly become a composer whose music I love and seek out when performed live. I hope Philharmonic audiences feel the same way.