Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 earns cheers from San Antonio

04.13.18
Johannes Moser
San Antonio Express

Friday night was a time for private musical thoughts and noble loftiness during the San Antonio Symphony’s concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” followed Edward Elgar’s elegiac Cello Concerto on the program.

Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing changed the original program for this concert, which was to feature an Anton Bruckner symphony, to stage the Beethoven symphony with the Mastersingers for a celebratory event after a management crisis almost ended the symphony season in January.

And a celebration it was Friday night.

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German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser opened the concert with a stirring account of the Elgar concerto, which was composed at the end of World War I.

The warm, mellow sound of Moser’s cello lent an underlying sadness to the swaying melody of the first movement.

The faster second movement was crisp and exciting, and then the orchestra pulled back in the adagio to give Moser the stage for a theme that seemed to yearn for the peaceful time before the war, passages of personal emotion from the English composer.

The concerto’s finale revealed the cellist’s confidence and astute grasp of the piece. Moser’s encore was the solemn sarabande from J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.
 
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