“(…) It was a great evening for the French-born conductor, who opened the program with some spoken program notes explaining the genesis of the first work: the U.S. premiere of Scottish composer James MacMillan’s dramatic and effective “The Death of Oscar.” (…) The performance got a very warm response from the audience — which brought the conductor back to the stage in a wave of enthusiasm not always seen during premieres of new commissions.
The program’s finale, Rachmaninoff’s tuneful Symphony No. 2, was given the full romantic treatment, with the lush melodies warmly spun out, and the more declarative passages practically exploding from the stage.
(…) Denève urged the orchestra on with swooping, commanding gestures of baton, hand, and even his hair (a wild mop of curls that seemed to take on an interpretive life of their own). (…)
it’s a program well worth hearing in the two repeats: a fully engaged orchestra, a supercharged maestro, and a soloist who really makes Beethoven roll over.