Review: Handel and Haydn Society, guest conductor Václav Luks, music by Bologne, Voríšek, Beethoven

Posted on: January 14, 2022

“The 2021-22 season marks the last for Harry Christophers leading the Handel and Haydn Society,” writes Jason McCool in Wednesday’s (1/12) Boston Globe. “Every guest appearance piques interest. Conductor Václav Luks, founder of Prague’s Collegium 1704, made his H&H debut Friday night…. This enthralling program … offered deep contrast by pairing two rarely performed works—Bologne’s Overture to ‘L’amant Anonyme’ (‘The Anonymous Lover’) and Voríšek’s Symphony in D Major—with the familiar, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony…. The overture to Bologne’s opera ‘L’amant Anonyme’ [is] a lively and charming post-Baroque jaunt…. The conductor commanded the podium with panache, while the balanced ensemble responded gamely. But Bologne’s overture felt too brief…. Bologne deserves to be the main event…. The Handel and Haydn Society faces a unique challenge in airing out its programming: It rarely performs music composed after 1840…. In a different manner of discovery, the second movement of Voríšek’s appealing symphony recalled the … second movement from Beethoven’s forthcoming Seventh, while the galloping Scherzo pointed ahead to Voríšek’s countryman Dvořák.… At its 1813 premiere in Vienna, Beethoven’s Seventh served as an exuberant communal exhalation after years of conflict. In these days of profound uncertainty, it assumes something nearly inconceivable: a banner of hope.”