Before the holidays descend upon us with all those jingle bells and raucous choruses, the Houston Symphony is pausing to reflect on simple romantic pleasures with Pictures at an Exhibition. Conductor Susanna Malkki, former head of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Norway and now with Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, will be making her Houston debut leading the symphony in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, inspired by artworks and lovely places the world over, including Paris's catacombs and Tuileries gardens. There's also a piano concerto by a fellow Scandinavian, Edvard Grieg, whose romantic work is stuffed with flamboyant piano solos. The program also includes Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin, whose six movements the composer dedicated to fellow soldiers - all personal friends - who were killed during World War I (the overall tone, remarkably, is actually quite danceable). 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $126.
Nov. 26-28, 2010