Cho-Liang Lin will perform with BSO
The five quiet taps on the timpani that open Beethoven's only violin concerto command the quiet awe necessary to apprehend the greatest concerto written for this instrument. It's impossible to overstate the reverence with which violinists treat this piece -- it's their Holy Grail, their Noah's Ark, the alpha and omega of their art. Cho-Liang Lin, who will play the Beethoven Concerto with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 8:15, distinguished himself long ago as a virtuoso with a deep poetic streak. And one is willing to speculate that his interpretation of this piece will be among the great ones of our generation. Other works on the program include Copland's "El Salon Mexico" and "Rodeo." Tickets are $15 and $40. Call (410) 783-8000 for details. Although partly spurred by hard economic times, the new museum trend to mount small "focus" exhibits is an excellent idea; these shows concentrate on exploring one work of art, usually from the museum's own collection, with a limited number of other works that help to throw light on it. Tuesday the Walters Art Gallery jumps on the bandwagon by opening "A Renaissance Puzzle: Heemskerck's 'Abduction of Helen.' " It explores the grand 1535 painting by Maerten Van Heemskerck, "Panoramic Fantasy With the Abduction of Helen," using other works to unravel puzzles and identify such details of the painting as wonders of the ancient world. It also compares Italian and Netherlandish landscapes, and explains how the artist incorporated classical elements. The exhibit continues at the Walters Art Gallery, 600 N. Charles St., through Feb. 28. Call (410) 547-9000.