Two days after the death of Paavo Berglund, the already-scheduled performance of the fifth symphony by Sibelius was aptly dedicated to the former BSO principal conductor by present incumbent Kirill Karabits.
And Berglund would surely be happy to know the strong tradition for performing the music of his fellow Finn is in safe hands.
Karabits showed not only his familiar virtues of energy, crisp attack and a flair for making a melody sound freshly plucked from the air, but a keen ear for Sibelius’s individual sonorities.
This was yet another outstanding BSO concert, with the symphony following no less fine performances of Weber’s Oberon overture and Dvorak’s cello concerto. Here French soloist Gautier Capucon quickly settled after an early spell in which his vibrato was arguably too insistent. He caught both the fire and poetry of music composed regretfully far from home – with the American influence offset by Czech yearning.
Capucon also happily shared the musical spotlight with soloists in the orchestra, notably horn, flute and violin, and Karabits was meticulous in balancing partnerships.