Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major at Strathmore

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The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been pleasing the ears of its patrons for almost a century. Established in 1816, the Orchestra is the first and only orchestra in the United States to have home concert venues in two different metropolitan areas, the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore and since 2005 the Music Center at Strathmore.

Music Director Marin Alsop. Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Music Director Marin Alsop. Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The BSO initiated their new season at the Music Center at Strathmore with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, and Mahler’s “Symphony No. 4 in G major.”

Aslop opened the evening with a reverent and beautiful arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Christopher Theofanidis, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the nation’s anthem.

Violin Pinchas Zukerman. Photo courtesy of the BSO.
Violin Pinchas Zukerman. Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The first half of the evening, Alsop led the orchestra and world-renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman, (who replaced ailing violinist Hilary Hahn) in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61. Composed in 1806, it opened without success and was not performed very often until its revival in 1844. Beethoven’s only violin concerto is now widely regarded as one of the most important of its repertoire. The first movement started slow and there seemed to be a slight disconnect with Alsop, but this recovered through the second and third movements. Zukerman’s command of the Fritz Kreisler cadenzas were magnificent. By the end of the piece the audience was on it its feet, earning Zukerman a well-deserved standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes.

The second half of the concert featured Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major. Mahler’s 4th and is and is one of his most performed and enjoyable symphonies. Known as a light, but spirited symphony, Alsop and her able team of musicians stayed true to the tranquil and beautiful tones of the four-movement symphony.

Soprano Tamara Wilson. Photo courtesy of Aaron Gang/CAMI.
Soprano Tamara Wilson. Photo courtesy of Aaron Gang/CAMI.

The fourth movement of Mahler’s work featured Soprano soloist Tamara Wilson, who delivered a dazzling rendition of “Das himmlische Leben,” – a child describing heaven.

What a perfect way for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to begin its new season at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Running Time: Almost two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.

BSO: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major played one-night only on September 19, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For future events, check their calendar. 

This program had one more performance at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall – 1212 Cathedral Street, in Baltimore, MD tomorrow, Sunday September 21, 2014 at 3 PM.