The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra officially opened its 2015-16 season Friday night with a new, weighty and downright listenable work. This was Schoenberg’s American Symphony. No, not that Schoenberg; this one was Adam, who was born in 1980 and is unrelated to the other one.
Adam Schoenberg’s symphony employs a large orchestra, which brings the five-movement composition in at about half an hour. Although it is a work of many moods, it seemed basically celebratory to me.
It opens and closes with great vigor (the opener is a fanfare), has a playful — both melodic and rhythmic — rondo as a center point, and has some exceptionally lovely music in two interior movements.
With Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting, the orchestra gave an impressive and enticing performance of the symphony. High points for me were Adam’s writing for woodwinds in the lovely second and fourth movements, which are titled “white on blue” and “prayer.”
This work is a winner.
But it wasn’t the only goody in Bass Hall on Friday night. Two Canadians, Louis Lortie and Hélène Mercier, came onstage as the soloists for Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365. Lortie is well-known on the concert circuit, Mercier a little less so.
They made the most of Mozart’s lovely and playful work, with a performance that was like the musical version of a friendly conversation. They’re quite a team.
Finally, there was Rachmaninoff. Not one of the concertos, but his Symphonic Dances, a major work that brought his compositional career to a close. Harth-Bedoya and the orchestra gave it a dazzling performance that provided a share of the spotlight to just about everyone. Even the saxophonist. Yes, a saxophone in Rachmaninoff.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
▪ 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
▪ Bass Hall
▪ 817-665-6000; www.fwsymphony.org