Lucky for Philadelphia Orchestra guest conductors they don't know what's come before them. Gianandrea Noseda might have hesitated to program Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 had he known he would have to live up to the indelible imprint left on this piece by Simon Rattle three years back. But by the end of his Friday concert in his weekend-after-Thanksgiving series, Noseda performed the symphony with different-but-equal conceptual strengths.
Has any pianist packed so many notes in a two-hour span as Sara Davis Buechner in her Philadelphia calling-card recital? The latest addition to the Temple University piano faculty, she claims to love Mozart above all, but Friday at Rock Hall Auditorium memorialized Ferruccio Busoni in ways that translated into much hot, high-velocity playing.
Even in the most timeworn opera librettos, there's a line that says it all. In Rigoletto, the title character proclaims he's spent weeks "weeping tears of blood." And if you believe that when it comes out of the singer's mouth, you've got a good Rigoletto.
Well-laid plans for any new music ensemble probably don't exist - it's a side effect of embracing the unknown - which means the Orchestra 2001's opening-season concert on Friday was extremely promising in ways that weren't superficially apparent amid peripheral problems.
David Patrick Stearns is a classical music critic and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.