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BSO Summer Thursdays at Strathmore: Beethoven's Ninth

[Beethoven, 34x21] - by László Környei - The rank and file of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society finished the Summer Thursday Series at Strathmore this year, as last year, with Beethoven’s 9th – perhaps the most iconic of all works in classical music. Conducting was the young and energetic Edward Gardiner who proved so energetic, indeed, that he proceeded to rid himself of excess energy by means of a most curious and surely inefficient “Edward Scissorhands” conducting technique replete with nervously militaristic spasms and convulsions. The result looked like a persiflage of the ‘modern, young and dynamic conductor’.

Other Reviews:

Tim Page, A Ninth to Remember: Gardner Conducts, And Beethoven Sings (Washington Post, Friday Performance - July 31)
Fortunately the result with the principle-less but principled playing BSO was of a more relaxed nature – an autopilot performance that started and landed smoothly and safely and nary a bit of turbulence in between. After an engaging second but rather less inspiring third movement with many a detail awry, the finale heralded. The Baltimore Choral Arts Society provided the highlight of the evening with a cogent, rousing performance. Among the soloists – Alexandra Deshorties (soprano – at turns impressive), Kelley O’Connor (mezzo – drowned out), Gordin Gietz (tenor – strained) and Stephen Powell (baritone – very solid) – no one detracted nor particularly excelled.

Before a summery, liberally behaved but ultimately enchanted and frenetically applauding audience, Gardiner was faultless and delivered the necessities without, however, giving one ever the sense to have partaken in a great night of music making.

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