Former Dallas Symphony assistant conductor Ruth Reinhardt makes a fine Fort Worth Symphony debut

Ruth Reinhardt
The Dallas Morning News

During a two-year appointment as assistant conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, from 2016 to 2018, Ruth Reinhardt repeatedly impressed as an incisive musician of real depth. On Friday night, at Bass Performance Hall, she was the Fort Worth Symphony's guest conductor, and again the musical results were most rewarding.

The program was framed by two masterpieces, with something less in the middle. It's a shame that, at least around here, Stravinsky's three early ballet scores —The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring — great as they are, so effectively elbow out music of his mid-career neoclassical period. Danses Concertantes, which opened Friday's concert, is one of the most delightful artifacts of the latter aesthetic.

Conceived for a ballet, which it became thanks to George Balanchine, it's some of the happiest music you can imagine, interspersed with gently yearning variations. With strings reduced to chamber-orchestra numbers, to balance the single winds, Reinhardt led a smart, thoroughly sympathetic performance, and the orchestra played beautifully. Episodes featuring smaller groups of instruments were played with particular suavity.
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