The Beethoven symphony, the lone work on the second half of last Thursday’s program, washed all these ominous tones away in idyllic splendor, led with elegance and authority by the ASO’s exquisite group of woodwinds.
Directly before the Beethoven symphony, music director Robert Spano took the stage to introduce violinist Carol Ramirez and principal horn Brice Andrus, both of whom will be retiring at the end of the season. Ramirez joined the ASO in the ’70s, and Andrus became a member of the horn section while a student at Georgia State University in 1967.
“One of our joys of working here is the talented individuals that constitute this orchestra,” Spano said, with Runnicles by his side.
As the ensemble says goodbye to four musicians this year – violinists Frank Walton and David Braitberg have also announced their retirement – the ASO looks forward to the unknown, heading into its 75th anniversary while preparing for a new music director and what lies beyond.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with soloist Christina Smith
8 p.m. Tonight and 3 p.m. tomorrow $28-$109. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, atlantasymphony.org.