Boston Symphony’s return to Symphony Hall: Beethoven, Bartók, Williams, Nelsons, Mutter

Posted on: October 8, 2021

The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Anne-Sophie Mutter perform music by John Williams, with the composer at the podium. Photo: Winslow Townson

“The most moving moment of the Boston Symphony Orchestra concert that marked its return after an absence of 18 months … to its great concert hall was the prolonged standing ovation the audience gave the players as they appeared onstage Thursday night, Sept. 30,” writes Lloyd Schwartz in Monday’s (10/4) WBUR (Boston). “Everyone seemed very happy to be in that hall. Music director Andris Nelsons … thanked the audience for ‘fostering an environment of acceptance and inclusivity.’ The program … began with [Beethoven’s] ‘The Consecration of the House,’ that launched the very first BSO concert in 1881. This was followed by an ambitious recent piece, Violin Concerto No. 2 by John Williams, the Boston Pops’ beloved conductor laureate [with] star soloist … Anne-Sophie Mutter…. The grand finale was … Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra…. The [sound] that hit me hardest was the reverberant opening chord of the Beethoven, that rare combination of breadth and warmth and depth enabled by the plush acoustics of Symphony Hall—a sound impossible to reproduce electronically…. Serge Koussevitzky, the legendary music director of the BSO from 1924 to 1949, commissioned Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra for the BSO in 1943…. And it still sounds fresh.”