The first of the St. Louis Symphony's "Beethoven Festival" concerts this weekend brought exciting performances by guest conductor Andrey Boreyko of three works, each separated by nearly a century: Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7 in A major", Op. 92 (first performed in 1813), Carl Nielsen's Op. 33 "Violin Concerto" (1912 premiere), and "Ravish and Mayhem", a colorful little tone poem by Missouri composer Stephanie Berg from 2012 that opened the evening.
This weekend the symphony brings us the first of four "Beethoven Festival" concerts that will feature performances of the third and fifth symphonies, the fifth piano concerto (the "Emperor") and, this Friday and Saturday, the "Symphony No. 7 in A Minor," Op. 92. The two works that precede the Beethoven this weekend, however, are at least as noteworthy.
Physics may tell us that you can’t strike sparks with wood, but I’m here to tell you that Vadim Gluzman did exactly that with his exhilarating performance of the Tchaikovsky “Violin Concerto” Friday morning. The difficult first movement cadenza, in particular, was mesmerizing in its intensity and precision.