The spirit of Eduardo Mata seemed present in the Meyerson Symphony Center on Thursday night. A new plaque honoring the former music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was spotlighted near the hall’s entrance. His daughter and ex-wife were present at the DSO’s concert. And the orchestra, under Jaap van Zweden’s direction, played Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony — a work chosen by Mata to open the Meyerson two decades ago. (Alas, the conductor died in a plane crash in 1995.)
The Mahler, which was given a grand and moving performance by van Zweden and the DSO, was a fitting tribute. Despite the grandeur — the final measures practically levitated the Meyerson — it was throughout a subtle performance, whose quiet moments of lyric beauty were deeply effective. Mata, a subtle musician, would have approved, I imagine.
The large orchestra was joined by vocal soloists Heidi Grant Murphy and Sasha Cooke (Cooke’s creamy mezzo was particularly appealing), the huge Dallas Symphony Chorus and organist Mary Preston. They, like the orchestra, performed subtly as well as stirringly.
The auditorium was practically full, and the audience gave the performers one of the strongest and most extended ovations of the season. There are three more chances to hear the program; this one is definitely worth the trip to the Meyerson.