San Antonio Symphony delivers
diamond-sharp Beethoven 9th
Friday, September 18, 2015
by David Hendricks
Although it was only three years since the orchestra last performed this popular work, it takes intense and efficient rehearsals to perform this work with such diamond clarity and beauty.
After the dramatic first movement, Lang-Lessing, conducting without a score, delivered a vivacious, brisk and sweeping scherzo. Jeff Garza on the horn, Paul Leuders on oboe and Peter Flamm on timpani were perfect in their exposed roles.
The moving and emotional adagio was relaxed and luxuriant, with horn player Adedeji Ogunfolu splendid in his solo.
The final movement exploded like a thunder clap before the cellos and basses took over as snippets of the previous movement’s themes were quoted. The music reflects Beethoven’s mental pursuit for perfection here as he rejects the previous themes until a new one appears.