Despite having one of the best orchestras in the world right here at home, it was a treat to hear the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra in Davies Symphony Hall. The LGO, founded in 1743, is one of the oldest and most revered orchestras in the world. It has been led by Felix Mendelssohn, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter; it has performed all Beethoven symphonies while the composer was still alive, and brought the Seventh back to life on Monday night.
We plumped down in our seat, and there was something different we could not pinpoint right away, like being in a forest without the birds chirping: the musicians were not warming up, tuning, nor practicing the hairy parts of their program in that messy, random cacophony which usually precedes the entrance of the maestro. Actually, the musicians were not even on stage: they entered all together to take a bow and receive a round of applause. It was a display of German organization which repeated after intermission, but mostly it was good showmanship, putting the spotlight straight on the orchestra.