Last night was a decent night at Symphony Hall. It began with Janáček’s rhapsody Taras Bulba. A dramantic and often exciting and beautiful work, Christian Arming did a decent job with it. Nothing stood out in his conducting of it that doesn’t jump out of the score anyway. I have to admit that my mind wandered a bit, which is probably more my fault than Arming’s: I’d been a little out of it all day.
Although I did not think that it was particularly great overall, there was a lot to like about this evening’s concert by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko. It began with a good-enough performance of Richard Strauss’ symphonic poem, “Don Juan.” There’s something about Strauss’ tone poems that makes my mind wander. It’s nothing bad – I’m not bored by them – it’s just good music for fantasizing and day dreaming. That is to say, I paid enough attention to know that it was an ok performance but not enough to say how it could have been better.
Last season, Joseph Young blew me away with a program that included Hayden, Mozart, and Prokofiev so I was very excited to have the opportunity to hear him again this season. In particular, I thought that he’d kill Dvorák’s Symphony no. 9. Unfortunately, although this was an enjoyable concert, I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with Young’s conducting this time around.
I have no idea if it was just me, but Muñoz seemed to be conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to play everything slowly and deliberately, as though it was more important that the audience hear each and every note than actually connect with the pieces on an emotional level. I found my mind wandering during Bruch’s Violin Concerto no 1 and I was seriously thinking that I’d rather just go home by the second movement of Dvorak’s 8th symphony despite the fact that those are both wonderful, engaging pieces of music.