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Ruth Reinhardt

Review: European stars bring talents to San Antonio Symphony concert


By David Hendricks

Under a German guest conductor and with a Romanian cellist, the San Antonio Symphony presented a trio of riveting symphonic works Friday night.

The emotion-packed Antonín Dvorák Cello Concerto led the way to Jean Sibelius’ reflective Symphony No. 7 and Richard Strauss’ banana-peel humorous “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” for about 950 people at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Guest conductor Ruth Reinhardt took the spotlight after intermission by leading the orchestra in the Sibelius Symphony No. 7, the composer’s last. Reinhardt, who recently was the Dallas Symphony’s assistant conductor, directed a happy, flowing performance of this gem of a symphony. Her conducting style used wide-swinging gestures that had a firm grasp on tempos and volumes.

The Seventh is one of the most scenic symphonies ever, a bird’s-eye view of an ever-changing landscape. One could imagine a forest, a plain with a swarm of bees, majestic mountain ranges and a seashore, the music swelling up at the end to depict, maybe, the glowing Northern Lights. Reinhardt’s direction gave the work a strong sense of journey.

The performance sizzled and was bold in its shifts between humor and tenderness.

Read the full review.