Guest conductor for last night's concert was Manfred Honeck, music director in Pittsburgh, a healthy-looking grey-haired guy.
He brought with him a brief recent piece that Pittsburgh had commissioned, by Gloria Isabel Ramos Triano, originally from Venezuela and now a conductor working mainly in Europe. amazon (pretentiously eschewing a capital letter) - referring to the warrior women, not the river or the shipping company - is a bustling, active work resembling movie music in the Danny Elfman mode, with sudden quiet passages and a lot of percussion (7 players) clopping around in the background.
The rest of the concert delivered brilliantly colorful, rather than interpretatively compelling, versions of two of my favorite large-scale works.
In Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody, both pianist Beatrice Rana and the orchestra were magnificently crisp, like a single perfect potato chip that somehow takes half an hour to eat.
Schubert's Great C Major Symphony, of which I would not put "crispness" among its many virtues, was blisteringly fast, with a terrifyingly intense coda.
This was not MTT's or EPS's, let alone Blomstedt's, SFS, but it was good enough.
Next week's concert will be less familiar and more challenging: a concert version of the opera Adriana Mater by Kaija Saariaho. Who just died yesterday, I learned to my shock this morning. She was 70. Peace to her memory, and as this concert will be the first to demonstrate, her music will live on.