Baltimore Symphony at Strathmore “Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony-Benedetto Lupo, Piano” by Jane Coyne

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Under the baton of much loved guest conductor Juanjo Mena, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed a fabulous concert at The Music Center at Strathmore on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

Juanjo Mena. Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.

The concert began with three of Antonin Dvořák’s “Slavonic Dances” from “Opus 72.” This was an excellent choice for the gracefully masculine, jubilant, and musically charismatic Mena who, to the ongoing delight of his audience, danced his way through the music he conducted throughout the evening. Audience approval was demonstrated very early on in the concert, when at the conclusion of Slavonic Dance No. 1, a smiling Mena was forced to pause the orchestra as the entire hall erupted in spontaneous applause.

Next, Italian pianist Benedetto Lupo, made his debut with the Baltimore Symphony performing Béla Bartók’s “Piano Concerto No.3.” The piece provided a very nice contrast to both the “Slavonic Dances” and to the second half of the program. Lupo played with great facility and precision, generating a beautiful sound and creating an emotional texture in his performance that was well supported and nuanced by the orchestra. The contrast between the movements was gorgeous and the finale was stunning in its speed and intensity.

In the second half of the program Mena and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra delivered a spectacular and refreshingly honest performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No.4.”  It was simply thrilling. With Mena working his musical magic, the orchestra members played as if they were discovering the symphony for the first time, and the audience responded in similar fashion. Jon Carney was locked into the music and dancing with his violin in absolute perfect step with Mena, who engaged every musician of the orchestra as if each was the only one there. It was simply extraordinary.

Mena conducts from his heart and soul, but externally he engages every ounce of his body. The dance is constant. His eyes and face show every emotion, and what he does with his left arm, hand, and fingers is just amazing. He and the BSO taught audiences, critics, and musicians alike a beautiful lesson. A war horse is only a war horse if it is treated as one. There was no war horse at Strathmore on Saturday night.

I love the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra! Every single time I hear them, I am simply amazed by their innovative, enthusiastic, and engaging spirit, their depth of talent, and the genuine connection they share with their audience. Judging by the multiple curtain calls and thunderous standing ovation that ended Saturday’s concert, it’s very clear that my feelings are shared by many.

Pianist Benedetto Lupo. Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.

Check out upcoming Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Concerts at Strathmore and the Meyehoff using this handy Season at a Glance Calendar. Tickets may be purchased online at BSO.org, by calling the BSO Box Office at 410.783.8000, or by calling the Strathmore Box Office at 301.581.5100

Locations:
The Music Center at Strathmore 
Symphony Hall
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852

Joseph Meyerhoff
1212 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Music Links
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZzeyrBQglE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjWFhaKiSVk

Upcoming BSO Concerts
Check out upcoming Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Concerts at Strathmore and the Meyehoff using this handy Season at a Glance Calendar. Tickets may be purchased online at BSO.org, by calling the BSO Box Office at 410.783.8000, or by calling the Strathmore Box Office at 301.581.5100

Locations:
The Music Center at Strathmore           Joseph Meyerhoff  Symphony Hall
5301 Tuckerman Lane                           1212 Cathedral Street
North Bethesda, MD 20852                   Baltimore, MD 21201