by Daniel Hathaway
In a break with tradition, The Cleveland Orchestra has entrusted the first month of its new season to guest conductors. Presiding over opening night on Thursday, September 19, was Fabio Luisi, who took some time off from The Metropolitan Opera on Thanksgiving weekend of 2011 to make a thrilling debut at Severance Hall.
On that occasion, Luisi shaped impressive accounts of two Strauss tone poems and a Mozart concerto with pianist Jonathan Biss. On Thursday, he led a nuanced, characterful reading of Mahler’s fourth symphony and a regal performance of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with his frequent collaborator, pianist Hélène Grimaud. (For the Fridays @ 7 concert on Friday, Luisi swapped Mahler out for Schumann’s first symphony, returning to the original program for his third concert on Saturday).
Luisi and the orchestra set the tone for Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with a grandly symphonic introduction. In her first entrance, Hélène Grimaud nearly matched them in power and brilliance. [Read more…]