KERA Art&Seek Blog
By Olin Chism
January 10, 2010
It’s not often that a group of musicians can take a piece of music that you’ve heard far too many times and make you glad you’re hearing it again.
Such a rarity occurred on Saturday night, when guest conductor Nicholas McGegan and violinist Jennifer Koh joined the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for a complete performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the four-concerto set that everyone’s heard at least bits and pieces of, whether they realize it or not.
Koh gave a bravura performance that, with the superb collaboration of McGegan and the orchestra, was full of high spirits and sheer joy. Particularly appropriate, considering the weather outside, was the final concerto, “Winter.” No one has ever quite equaled Vivaldi in his musical depiction of the season. The first movement is downright icy at the beginning and blizzardy later on, and the finale is shivery enough to make you want to wind your scarf a little tighter.
That was enough to make the trip to Bass Hall worthwhile, but there was more: joyful performances of Haydn’s Imperial Symphony (No. 53) and Mozart’s Linz (No. 36). Tempos were brisk and spirits irrepressible.
McGegan, who is British though he has had wide American experience, has an informal conducting style, with occasional flippant gestures, bouncing movements and broad smiles. He actually seems to be having fun.