The second movement, a scherzo, seemed to revive the players. With the cellos sawing away at a staccato musical figure, full of driving downbeats that propelled the music forward, the violins brought forth a folk-tinged melody. Modeled after a popular Austrian folk dance, the second movement righted the ship; the musicians no longer seemed to be playing challenging music, but sounded to be having a bit of fun in the midst of performing a daunting work.
The ensemble performed ably during the rest of the piece, producing passages of pure joy and sublime music that suitably masked intonation issues in the horn section.
On a night where Pohjonen’s guest appearance was billed next to Mahler’s “Titan” symphony, the ensemble’s emotional performance of the Beethoven, coupled with the pianist’s exciting playing, could have easily stood on its own as a fulfilling and complete night of music.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Juho Pohjonen
8 p.m. Feb. 9. Additional performance at 8 p.m. Feb. 11. $20-$59. Casual Friday performance of the Beethoven and the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10. $25. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000,