By all accounts, following Brusa’s composition with an 18th-century oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello, with ASO principal oboe Elizabeth Koch Tiscione in the solo role, should not have worked as well as it did. Koch Tiscione’s oboe sound is round and deep, and she kept this ruddy tone throughout dizzying Baroque runs of notes. I’ve written before that the ASO never regrets shining the spotlight on its musicians, and Koch Tiscione, who joined the ASO in 2007, is a perfect example of that rule. The orchestra hadn’t played the concerto since 1979, and it proved exactly the right showcase for her prodigious talents.
This concert series also marks the end of an unofficial Luisotti festival. The maestro has been with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for weeks, guiding the symphony through a recital of Verdi opera and last week’s one-night gala performance with violinist Itzhak Perlman. The Italian conductor hasn’t been a stranger to the ASO — he had been booked for a May 2020 concert of Mahler’s fourth symphony — and I can’t recall such an extended, or heralded, visit by a guest. While Luisotti has kept the ASO in top shape, former music director Robert Spano will be back at the podium on June 9 to close the 2021-2022 season and his time with the ASO. In a bit of pre-departure ceremony, Spano took the stage Thursday to recognize six retiring members of the orchestra. Unearthing a magnificent oboe concerto, which was last performed by the ASO when some of the retirees were still feeling out their places in their new ASO home, seemed an apt farewell.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Additional performance 8 p.m. May 28. $18-$110. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, atlantasymphony.org.