On 26 October Halls made the first of three appearances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra performing Rachmaninov’s The Bells and Beethoven Symphony No.7 to critical acclaim:
A Rousing, Ringing Success
Rachmaninoff’s The Bells…received a thrilling performance. Matthew Halls’ conducting was vibrant and athletic as needed, and his large, expressive gestures were effective in bringing across the fin de siècle extravagances of the piece…
Halls led a taut, energetic account of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. The first movement’s introduction laid a foundation of rhythmic momentum that carried through the work. Halls’ experience in the early music arena imbued his interpretation with zesty, brisk tempos and effective performance decisions, such as the cessation of vibrato in the strings in the Allegretto. This didn’t come across as a lecture performance in period performance, however, but as an intelligent conductor fully exploiting the coloristic possibilities of the modern symphony orchestra. The instrumentalists responded with thrilling virtuosity.
Concertonet 27 September: Marcus Karl Maroney
Further commendation from the Houston Chronicle can be read here.