Van Zweden begins his last DSO season with brilliantly played Mahler Fifth Symphony

Dallas Morning News
by: Scott Cantrell

And so it begins: Jaap van Zweden's 10th and final season as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Virtually unknown outside his native Netherlands when he began here, he has built such an international profile that he's leaving to head the New York Philharmonic.

His accomplishments in Dallas were certainly evident Thursday night at the Meyerson Symphony Center, in the opening concert of the DSO's 2017-18 classical season. One wishes there weren't quite so many reruns this season, including this program's Mahler Fifth Symphony. But the concert certainly demonstrated the brilliance, polish and pliancy van Zweden has cultivated here -- and the conductor's trademark intensity.

The brasses were particularly impressive, and van Zweden didn't hesitate to whip up every possible decibel. Trumpets, horns and trombones released great blazes of tone but also shaded them down in suave decrescendos. (Actually, horns were repeatedly louder than they needed to be in the balance.) Strings supplied sonic incandescence but elsewhere nicely cooled to the touch. Winds are less prominent in this piece, but, as always with the DSO, they played beautifully and expressively.

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