San Francisco Symphony and Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem

On June 12th, forty-nine people were killed in a gay night club in Orlando, with fifty-three more wounded, in a terrorist attack/hate crime that shook the world. Hours later, James Conlon, guest conducting Sunday afternoon at the San Francisco Symphony, took the mic at the start of the performance. He told us they would be dedicating the performance … Read moreSan Francisco Symphony and Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem

Leonidas Kavakos, the Sibelius VC, the SFS, and the truth

This past weekend, acclaimed violinist Leonidas Kavakos performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony. As you might know, I’m a big fan of this concerto. (Elaborated HERE.) I found Kavakos’ interpretation to be magnificent. Soul-stirring. No, not perfect. Sometimes a note didn’t land precisely right on the money. And there were moments where the pacing seemed … Read moreLeonidas Kavakos, the Sibelius VC, the SFS, and the truth

Henri Dutilleux & “Tout un Monde Lointain”

“Tout un monde lointain, absent, Presque defunct, vit dans tes profondeurs, forêt aromatique,” (A whole distant world, absent, barely alive, dwells in your depths, oh scented forest.) Mstislav Rostropovich commissioned this cello concerto. The poetry of Charles Baudelaire inspired it, albeit loosely. Pierre Boulez disdained its composer, Henri Dutilleux, and his work, which might be … Read moreHenri Dutilleux & “Tout un Monde Lointain”

San Francisco Ballet and Ratmansky’s “Shostakovich Trilogy”

  The San Francisco Symphony is right across the street from the San Francisco Ballet. I attend both. I sharpen my skills as a dance reviewer while watching the ballet, so it would stand to reason that I learn more and more about composers and their music while at the symphony. Except when it comes … Read moreSan Francisco Ballet and Ratmansky’s “Shostakovich Trilogy”

SF Symphony’s Tchaikovsky No. 5

San Francisco Symphony’s performance on Sunday, September 20th aimed for variety through the centuries. From J.S. Bach’s 1721 Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, to Henry Brandt’s wild and weird 21st century Ice Field: Spatial Narratives for Large and Small Orchestral Groups, culminating with one of the earliest symphonies I remember hearing and falling in love with, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. … Read moreSF Symphony’s Tchaikovsky No. 5