In past performances, Mälkki and Josefowicz have shared many a dance. Saturday the Knussen concerto provided them with perfect choreography.
“But Mälkki and Philharmonic (clearly well rested after their long tour) brought a bright, buoyant sense of energy to [Beethoven’s Third Symphony]. In the end, the two compositions were well matched, each representing a musical world — one heroic and panoramic, the other as precise and faceted as a Faberge egg.”
“The other Knussen scores were examples of his flair, spunk and fastidiousness. (Knussen liked to joke that he was the only composer or conductor for whom Leopold Stokowski and Pierre Boulez were heroes.) If “Reflection” is a composer dreamily contemplating the depths, “Flourish With Fireworks” is splashing around, and Mälkki made it sparkle.
In the two chamber pieces, Knussen again turned to early music. “Two Organa” gives late 20th century chamber music glitter to 12th century counterpoint. “Ophelia Dances” are a complex web of intertwining solos, reminiscent of Ophelia dancing on the precipice. Both were tightly managed by Mälkki.
[…] Mälkki loves a good blockbuster, and the exhilaration she and Josefowicz brought to Knussen’s Violin Concerto carried over after intermission to her knockout Beethoven, as if Knussen’s shadow ecstatically spurring her on.”