The Salonen contingent was back at midweek; if there is a more thrilling resonance than the sound of the Philharmonic playing Berlioz in Disney Hall, it remains undiscovered. Two snippets from the Roméo et Juliette symphony served as wraparound for the opening-night gala, with Renée Fleming to sing Ravel and Puccini as the luscious middle. Also tucked into that half-length program: a curious Luciano Berio reworking of a Boccherini (!) martial fantasy, insubstantial but delightful.
Oddly enough, another Berio reworking, this time of the final, unfinished Contrapunctus of Bach’s Art of the Fugue, began the next night’s first subscription program, an interesting setting for winds and brass ending with a dissonance of Berio’s fashioning. Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen followed, solemn, dark and resigned music from the end of a sorrowing composer’s life, perhaps somewhat out of place as a season’s opening music. Even so, the meathead in the audience who tried to end it with premature applause — twice — strengthens my hopes that someday there will be IQ testers at the doorways of concert halls. Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony glisteningly performed, outstanding among feel-good symphonies, ended the evening properly.