With the Rondo movement, she manages to create a

With the end of Jaap van Zweden’s time at the DSO creeping nearer and nearer, the community continues their speculations on who will succeed him. This performance, held at the Meyerson Symphony Center with Donald Runnicles conducting, features a unique program: Overture to Fidelio, Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Symphony No. 7 in C Major, and Leonore Overture. This performance showcases the musical experience he amassed over his career and sets him in the running to be a possible successor of Jaap van Zweden.The concert starts out with Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio. The aggressive fortissimos and exquisite pianissimos blend perfectly, an exciting opening. The melody passes seamlessly through the orchestra, free from any hiccup so commonly found in transitions between instruments. The energetic passage that usually sets the mood for the opera now creates an opening for the main feature of tonight’s performance.A scale enthusiasts paradise, Beethoven’s Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra can easily become monotonous if played by an inexperienced musician. Fortunately, Nicola Benedetti, with her Queen’s Medal for Music and various other prestigious awards, distinguishes herself from other musicians tonight with her interpretation of the piece. Runnicles set the stage for her quiet, expressive entry with the calm orchestral opening. Benedetti nails each scale and articulates each trill cleanly. Her quick, nimble fingers fly over the fingerboard as she ascends each scale, yet she still creates musical additions that add variation to each passage. Furthermore, the orchestra plays with a meticulous attention to the balance and style, which proves especially important in the lyrical Larghetto movement. Runnicles even drops the tempo to create a more intimate mood; Benedetti’s usage of quick, small vibrato and rich, wide vibrato enhances each phrase. In the Rondo movement, she manages to create a combination of solid tone and light bow strokes to round off a memorable rendition of Beethoven’s masterpiece.Runnicles follows the unique violin concerto with the equally unique Symphony no. 7 by Sibelius. In contrast to the standard symphonic form of four movements, Sibelius wrote this symphony as one movement. The cellos start out with a steady piano that grows steadily into an aggressive forte, demonstrating their high levels of bow control. Furthermore, Runnicles commands the trombones to blare over the strings at the perfect dynamic so as to not overpower the strings. As they sail through each structural challenge with ease, the orchestra reveals the true complexity of the symphony. To further enhance the evening, Runnicles closed the concert with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture. The two overtures related to Fidelio creates obvious bookends. Many know Runnicles for his excellent baton technique; he definitely demonstrates it in this piece. With efficient movements, he creates grandiose fortissimos and delicate pianissimos. Furthermore, he even stops conducting certain passages to allow the music to build on its own. This concert provides a memorable and meaningful artistic experience, enhanced by Donald Runnicles’ clear command of the orchestra on all levels. He left the impression of a conductor who should most definitely come under consideration for the open post of music director, assuming he wants the job.

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