Last Thursday, the Berkeley Symphony welcomed Joana Carneiro, the last of six candidates to appear at Zellerbach Hall and make a case for their being appointed as music director. Carneiro's selection of pieces was probably the least eclectic of all the candidates' programs, though she chose hers strategically. A Bay Area premiere of a new composition, a work by a hometown hero, and a warhorse of the repertoire not only provided a diverse offering of music but also allowed Carneiro, the assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to play to her strengths. Carneiro's "audition" began with Magnus Lindberg's Chorale (2006). One of the most successful of today's active composers, Lindberg composes in many different genres, including electronic music, but has made a name for himself among Bay Area listeners primarily through his orchestral works. (Last June the San Francisco Symphony gave the West Coast premiere of Seht die Sonne, a piece it jointly commissioned with the Berlin Philharmonic.) Chorale is an enigmatic and fascinating reinterpretation of J.S. Bach's Es ist genug, the same chorale that Alban Berg quoted in his Violin Concerto (1935). And indeed, Chorale sets Bach against a thick fog of Bergian harmony. At times the chorale tune emerges clearly, while at other times it fades from hearing. The piece served as a good primer on Carneiro's conducting. The constant backdrop of orchestral sonority, sometimes approaching molasses-like density, allowed her to concentrate on shape and color, molding the music into an ever-shifting sonic tapestry. As a result, the audience was treated to the full gamut of Carneiro's choreography and warmed to it almost immediately. All her arm movements began at the shoulder and ended in fully extended limbs that stretched, waved, and slashed through the air. (At one point she accidentally struck her music stand with the baton.) In quiet legato passages her conducting resembled tai chi; in loud staccato passages she might have been fencing. It was the latter, especially, that seemed to engage her (and the audience) the most. Like Kent Nagano, retiring after 30 years with the Berkeley Symphony, Carneiro favors a homophonic sound in which the orchestra moves and sings as one. (Contrast this to a Michael Tilson Thomas or a Riccardo Muti, both of whom favor a polyphonic sound that emphasizes individual details within the bigger picture.) Consequently, the most captivating moments of the evening were the passages that called for a thunderous, forbidding, or majestic sound — in other words, the loud passages. This approach comes at certain costs that became evident later in the evening, yet it served Carneiro well in Chorale and earned the support of the crowd.