"But the best was yet to come. Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony is somewhat neglected in comparison to its neighbours, the Eroica Symphony (No. 3) and the famous Fifth Symphony. Nevertheless, in the hands of a conductor like Mei-Ann Chen, this symphony sounds glorious. Chen is a highly communicative conductor. While she is clear in her projection of the basic rhythm, she nevertheless goes far, far beyond beating time in conveying the inner emotional qualities of each phrase of the music, most especially in everything to do with rhythm.
In this symphony and in this performance, the focus was all on rhythm and rhythmic variety and delivered with a degree of specificity and vitality I have never heard live before. This was a splendid, even astonishing, account of the work, the audience spellbound throughout. This is the extrovert, happy Beethoven, qualities that inform each movement, including the cheeky scherzo movement and ebullient finale. Chen’s communication with the audience was notable throughout the evening, especially as she drew from the audience its appreciation for the fine work of the various sections of the orchestra. Overall, this was the happiest concert of the season."