Critic’s Choice

January 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

By David Wright

François-Xavier Roth

François-Xavier Roth

Subscribers to the Boston Symphony Orchestra are well acquainted with the warm, characterful solos of principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe, and connoisseurs of orchestral sound appreciate the room-filling tone and sprightly articulation that principal harpist Jessica Zhou adds to the mix. 

In four performances beginning Thursday, these two artists will be front and center in Mozart’s colorful, expressive Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299, as the French conductor François-Xavier Roth leads the BSO in a program of French or French-inspired works.  The other two pieces on the bill, François-Joseph Gossec’s Symphony for 17 Parts and Beethoven’s Napoleonic Symphony No. 3  (“Eroica”), were composed within a few years of each other, yet face in opposite directions: Gossec elegantly summing up the old symphonic tradition, Beethoven robustly pointing the way to a new one.

Listeners can come for a generous helping of two popular BSO players, and stay to hear a podium visitor open the French doors to music’s Classical era.

The program will be performed 8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and January 12, and 1:30 p.m. Friday, at Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200.

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