The headline from the first installment is that Nézet-Séguin will move through a score on autopilot for a while, but at certain points change the speed and character of the music. Two scaled-down ensembles are splitting the schedule of concerts; Thursday night's hugged his every nuance.
This phrase-sculpting expressed no big ideas. At a point in the first movement of Mozart's Symphony No. 39, Nézet-Séguin stopped keeping time, then turned to the cellos to propel a rhythm forward. Elsewhere, he bunched up tension for a stretch, then relaxed. These are more pleasant topographical alterations than revelations, but they make for great visuals. In a third movement of machinelike inevitability, he was a conductor for the eyes.
The Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat (K. 482) lends itself to personal statements by the orchestra and conductor, with its contrasting movements within movements, and, joined by 19-year-old soloist Jan Lisiecki, it ended up an interesting, if slightly odd, compendium of philosophies. At this stage in his development, Lisiecki is a pretty player who, in real time, can be heard still searching for meaning. The cadenza work was genuinely probing, the passagework more prosaic. Nézet-Séguin made the most of the middle movement's astonishing shifts from opening despondency to joie de vivre winds, and back again.
Two different Mozart programs continue Saturday in Verizon Hall: a family concert at 11:30 a.m. with Jan Lisiecki and host Dan Zanes; at 8 p.m., Lisiecki in the "Piano Concerto No. 21 (K. 467)." Information: 215-893-1999 or www.philorch.org.