To open its annual three-concert end-of-summer festival, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra chose music by the classical masters Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, who aren’t really unfamiliar composers in need of a festival.
Nevertheless, they are surefire popular, and everyone wants to hear their works, even the most jaded concertgoer.
There is no better concert opener than Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute with its three opening chords, knocks on the door of fate. Although the performance got off to a rocky start, the piece took flight as it went on.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 (really his second but published first) harkens back to Mozart, who died a few years before, but there is much of the Beethoven of the future to be found here. Written for the composer to play himself, it is a dazzling display of piano technique.
Pianist Steven Lin took up the challenge. He last impressed us in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He has the requisite nimble fingers, and he thinks more carefully about the music these days. You will not hear cleaner playing, and Lin had an idea of how the concerto should go.
The huge cadenza, the third and longest the composer wrote, gave Lin the chance to really strut his stuff — and he made the most of it. With his nose inches above his hands, playing the fast tempi too fast and slow tempi too slow, he delivered an exciting performance. A Chopin encore was too long.
The performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 92, Oxford was absolutely terrific. With a light touch, without a baton, Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya caught every nuance. His motions were controlled, precise, meaningful and inspiring.
(Who was the amazing flutist sitting in the principal chair? His musicianship, clear sound, precise intonation and empathic dynamic levels transformed the wind section.)
Concerts 2 and 3of the Classical Masters Festival
7:30 p.m. Saturday with violinist David Coucheron
2 p.m. Sunday with pianist Gustavo Mireanda-Bernales
$20 to $70