The place to be Thursday evening, February 25, was Symphony Hall, where the Celebrity Series and the DeMoulas Foundation brought the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to Boston. It was decidedly the best Beethoven in town. Music director Riccardo Chailly’s program was perfectly planned and musically executed.
Quicker tempos in Symphony No. 7 in A Major played a major role in lighting up the scores, most noticeably in the Presto: Assai meno presto. The up-tempo playing enhanced the heroic character of the scherzo’s trio by drawing out a joyful sound, leaving the powerful and noble lighter and more personal.
Soloist Louis Lortie made more than a few astonishing passes at Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major (“Emperor”). One of these was his thrilling dialogue with the orchestra in the concluding movement. I did not always understand what he was up to, but his playing was so precise and crystal-clear that I could do nothing other than defer to his interpretation.
And there were two encores! For Lortie it was the final movement of the piano sonata, “Les Adieux,” and for the orchestra it was the Overture to Prometheus, Op 43. [Click title for full review.]