Conductor Cornelius Meister
Brahms has the soloists play in octaves in their lower ranges in the tender Andante movement. Unison playing, or octaves in this case, can be particularly treacherous, and the the soloists created the unique effect of fusing their instruments into one. Bravo to the BSO for showcasing its own musicians as soloists. The emerging German conductor Cornelius Meister, now music director of the Vienna Radio Symphony, led with broad, sweeping gestures that kept out of the way of the musicians. This worked magically in the Brahms, though it led to disappointing results in Mozart's Symphony No. 35 ("Haffner," D major) and Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, both requiring greater leadership.
Grace Jean, Cornelius Meister and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Brilliant Brahms and Mozart (Washington Post, October 29)
Tim Smith, Cornelius Meister leads Baltimore Symphony in program of Mozart, Brahms, Strauss (Baltimore Sun, October 27)
Marin Alsop returns to Baltimore for the next big program with the BSO, pairing Beethoven's fifth symphony with the East Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse's third symphony (November 8 and 11).