Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, makes his BSO debut with the beloved American pianist Emanuel Ax in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. This work shows Beethoven putting his own personal stamp on the style he learned from the music of Haydn and Mozart. Van Zweden also conducts Rachmaninoff's gorgeous, highly individual, 20th-century-romantic Symphony No. 2.
There was nothing really wrong with the Thursday performance, IMO, except that Emanuel Ax played the slow movement of the Beethoven a bit too loud for my personal taste. But the whole thing never really excited me. Perhaps the Beethoven concerto deserves its comparative neglect among the five he wrote for piano. And the Rachmaninoff was easy enough to take, but it never goes anywhere. The Boston Globe reviewer liked the performances more than I did.
You can decide for yourself this evening, Sunday afternoon, or for two weeks "on demand" at Classical New England, which, in addition to the usual broadcasts/webstreams, offers background links, as does the BSO website.