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Pianist Ax launches symphony with poetic power

  • David Hendricks

“To finish the concert, Lang-Lessing selected the perfect Beethoven symphony, the famous No. 5. For this night, nothing was held back. The orchestra played in full roar, especially to introduce the final movement. In the first movement, Lang-Lessing ordered a harrowing edge to the break-the-shackles theme. Bold French horn calls distinguished the third movement.

As the No. 5 drew near the end, the cellos and the basses combined to underscore the music’s firmament. From Julie Luker’s thrilling piccolo to the thundering basses, the orchestra pulled off a throw-your-hat-in-the-air finale.

The concert began with Beethoven’s Overture to “Egmont.” The musicians’ rich, full sound and Lang-Lessing’s exquisite phrasings led up to wonderful horn calls as the theme of unity and determination in the face of oppression formed fully.”

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Review: Cleopatra death rivets symphony audience

  • David Hendricks

“The orchestra was exceptional, under the baton of Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing, in works by Maurice Ravel and Gershwin. Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” was played with flair, delicacy and sweetness.”

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San Antonio Symphony delivers diamond-sharp Beethoven 9th

  • David Hendricks

“Although it was only three years since the orchestra last performed this popular work, it takes intense and efficient rehearsals to perform this work with such diamond clarity and beauty.

After the dramatic first movement, Lang-Lessing, conducting without a score, delivered a vivacious, brisk and sweeping scherzo. Jeff Garza on the horn, Paul Leuders on oboe and Peter Flamm on timpani were perfect in their exposed roles.
The moving and emotional adagio was relaxed and luxuriant, with horn player Adedeji Ogunfolu splendid in his solo.

The final movement exploded like a thunder clap before the cellos and basses took over as snippets of the previous movement’s themes were quoted. The music reflects Beethoven’s mental pursuit for perfection here as he rejects the previous themes until a new one appears.”

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