In recent months, I have discussed the residencies at Carnegie Hall of two orchestras: the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic. Care for a third? The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, which traveled to the hall for two concerts. Orchestras aren’t ranked like tennis players, but if you had to choose a Big Three in the world, you could do worse than to name the Berlin, Vienna, and Amsterdam orchestras. But understand that this is subjective, even mischievous.

The man standing before an orchestra makes a big difference, and the RCO—our shorthand for the Amsterdam orchestra—had its chief conductor, Mariss Jansons. He also plays this role for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich. We had him in America for a while, when he led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Some people, who know what they’re talking about, say that the