On Saturday, Susan and I attended our first Dallas Symphony performance since Jaap van Zweden took over as Music Director. His conducting style is very different from Andrew Litton. Litton always seemed to be conducting a few notes ahead of the orchestra – he waved the baton and a second later you’d hear the orchestra hit the note. Jaap van Zweden, on the other hand, gives the appearance of conducting in real time. The orchestra hits notes at exactly the same time that his baton makes the move. I’m sure there’s a technical name for that difference but I have no ideas what it is.
Jaap van Zweden did seem to be squeezing a little something extra out of the musicians during their performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. The conductor wore a black Dr. Evil outfit and tends to be very animated as he conducts. More than anything, he seemed to be using his baton as a magic wand and looked like an evil wizard madly casting spells.
Pianist Emanuel Ax performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25. We last saw Ax perform John Adams’ Century Rolls. While I prefer Adams to Mozart, it was still an enjoyable performance.