Review: Rochester Philharmonic’s first concert with Delfs on the podium, in Wagner, Higdon, Brahms

Posted on: September 27, 2021

“The Andreas Delfs era has officially begun for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra,” writes Daniel Kushner in Friday’s (9/24) WXXI.org (Rochester, NY). “On Thursday, Delfs conducted his first RPO Philharmonic concert as music director [at] Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre…. [In] Wagner’s ‘Dawn and & Siegfried’s Rhine Journey’ [Delfs’] deliberate tempo choices … allowed the cellos and violins to indulge in the Romantic fever dream that is Wagner’s music…. In Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto … violinist Benjamin Beilman … was always in control … and his precision lost none of the music’s passion in the process. As the first movement launched into a torrid, stratospheric section for the strings that recalled Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,’ Beilman played like a man possessed.… The audience rewarded Delfs and Beilman with an enthusiastic standing ovation. During … Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, … Delfs’ … pacing was intuitive, allowing him to extract the most musicality out of each phrase. Over the last six years covering the RPO, I’ve witnessed the gradual cohesion of the orchestra’s sound…. As Delfs led the group in interpreting Brahms, they came closer still to achieving that collective voice.”