Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 in D Minor was the evening's other warhorse.
I don't know how many audience members who did not know the piece ended their evening as new fans of the composer. The applause awarded after the 70-minute performance was brief and perfunctory.
Cooper clearly believes in the piece and the orchestra sounded in fine form. The trombone section -- Chris Dearth, David Parrilla and Glenn Proffit -- played with zest.
Cooper's interpretation could not connect episodic looseness of the piece and I never had a feeling for the overall line. The scherzo, the shortest movement at eight minutes, was best. In the outer movements, he never forged connections in the episodes that emerge, gradually gaining momentum only to chop off or falter without clear links being established.
He did make a determined effort to clarify the constant thick textures that pervade the whole piece. Nevertheless, I can't remember a performance where I did not come away with a clear memory of a solo melodic line from a single instrument.
Until this one.
The concert repeats Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Clay Center.