Mixed rewards with light desserts from Grams, DSO

Andrew von Oeyen
Texas Classical Review

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrew Grams served up a post-Thanksgiving meal of desserts only Friday night at Meyerson Symphony Center, with a heavy dash of bombast from the conductor and a few moments of genuine insight along the way.

Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores represent the apex of that particular genre, and part of the genius of those scores lies in the fact that Tchaikovsky knew exactly what he was writing: descriptive music to accompany and enliven the silent narration onstage. Friday’s concert pulled substantial chunks of two of those ballet scores—Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker–out of their natural home in the orchestra pit and landed them onstage as concert works.


After the opening volley of the Prologue, the Grande Valse, and the Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty, soloist Andrew von Oeyen joined Grams and the orchestra for another familiar item from the high romantic hit parade, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor.


For his part, pianist Von Oeyen created a nicely thunderous aura in the first movement cadenza (using Percy Grainger’s slightly dressed-up version of that segment); the high point of the entire concert arrived in the lyrical Adagio, with fine collaboration between Von Oeyen and assistant principal horn Alexander Kienle in that gorgeously nostalgic duet passage.
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