Jeremy Eichler The Boston Globe
“(…) The energetic French conductor Stephane Deneve is back on the podium reprising his success from this past July with Saint-Saens’s “Organ” Symphony, which, if memory serves, uncorked one of the summer’s most vociferous ovations in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. (…) Deneve also clearly has this symphony’s number. On Thursday night in Symphony Hall, his performance was masterfully paced for dramatic effect. He drew out the themes of the Poco Adagio with surpassing tenderness, and in the second movement, coaxed real heat from the strings as well as some spectacular playing from the brasses. (..) The concert opened with a brief curtain-raiser, Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral” from 2000, partly conceived as a moving memorial to her brother. Its sound world and its use of the orchestra made this score a fitting companion to the Williams concerto. Also, as Deneve pointed out in his spoken introduction from the stage, both works trace a similarly contoured expressive journey, from darkness toward light. He led the Higdon with a sure feel for texture and phrasing. Leaving the hall, the audience seemed on cloud nine.”

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