It was this [third] symphony by Brahms that stood at the centre of Friday’s Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra concert, a performance led with rare understanding and grace by guest conductor Christoph König. This was a performance in which everything went just right — from the complex cross-rhythms of the opening movement, to the refined lyricism of the middle movements. And it was capped by a forceful, energetic finale that nonetheless concluded with a nostalgic reference to its remarkable, beautiful first movement. König is a highly accomplished conductor. Economical in his beat, but also expressive, he radiates the ease that comes with a thorough knowledge of the score and complete competence in all aspects of his craft. König brought out of the best in the orchestra, which played with remarkable rhythmic unanimity and security. Throughout the concert, König paid particular attention to the woodwinds, whose overall sound was compact, blended, and richly expressive.
Christoph König conducts the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2, Mussorgsky Scherzo in B-flat Major (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Premiere, and Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring the fabulously gifted 2010 Chopin Competition winner Yulianna Avdeeva. More info .