The Oregon Symphony revisits a symphonic keystone, con brio

Stefan Jackiw
The Oregonian

Highlights: The program was a bit of a haphazard assortment, but each of its parts was arresting in its own way. König gave hushed excitement in Rachmaninoff's grim and mystical "Isle of the Dead"; violinist Stefan Jackiw was stunningly incisive in Witold Lutoslawski's edgily modernist Partita and Antonín Dvorák's F Minor Romance; and the Beethoven was full of terrifically crisp detail throughout the orchestra.

Most valuable performer: König was all you could want in a conductor: communicative, efficient, energetic, easygoing and musical. Jackiw, making his third OSO appearance, had the thorny Lutoslawski thoroughly in his fingers and danced through the Dvorák with silvery tone and sterling intonation. The undersung pianist Carol Rich accompanied Jackiw brilliantly in the Lutoslawski, particularly in the second and fourth movements, the realization of which the composer left to chance operations.

Nice touch: Breaking from the standard overture-concerto-symphony format to have Jackiw play two vastly different pieces illuminated both the player and the music. Symphonies--and not just the OSO--should try that programming model more often.

Read the full review here.