It was the kind of homecoming a conductor might dream of.
After its vigorous performance Tuesday at the famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was hailed with a standing ovation. They had played Korngold’s Violin Concerto with young violinist Hilary Hahn and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony — in the concert hall where Mahler himself once conducted.
Music director Jaap van Zweden — who had been the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s lead violinist for 16 years and still lives in Amsterdam — was called out twice by the audience. He had the different sections of the DSO stand, repeatedly shook hands with musicians, applauded them himself, accepted a bouquet — and promptly gave it to an orchestra member who beamed. Then he and the DSO launched into the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde as an encore (the orchestra is performing two programs on tour, and the Liebestod happens to be on the other program). During the encore, van Zweden could be seen brushing either sweat or tears from his eyes as he continued to conduct.
Unfortunately, live streaming online of the performance was balky, with frequent interruptions. But the performance will be available for free on the Concertgebouw’s website for the next 24 hours.