Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rising Sun

Reviewing the San Francisco Symphony. Lindberg, Seht die Sonne; Debussy songs; Beethoven, Seventh Symphony.

Some thoughts that didn't make it into the review:
  • I wish they'd programmed Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto to close, not the Beethoven. It would be fun to see Carey Bell break a sweat - and Oramo would have conducted it better.
  • Right, I hated the Beethoven. And it wasn't just the speed: it was the rigidity and lack of give between and within measures and phrases.
  • Anu Komsi really does have a lovely voice. She also has a habit of singing soft high notes with the tiniest thread of sound possible. I was very impressed the first couple of times she did this. Around the fourth or fifth time, realized that it's a trick, like those floated pianissimos Caballe could pull out of her hat. Notes sung in that fashion become disconnected from the line of the music.
  • Jeff Dunn points out that Einojuhanni Rautavaara has sold more records than the composers I listed put together. I didn't list Rautavaara because I've heard only two works by him, one a part song that I liked very much - Volti sang it on one of their concerts - the other the dreadful Manhattan Trilogy the Symphony played with Ashkenazy conducting.
  • The orchestra looked somewhere from studiously neutral to grim during the concert. My companion thought the Lindberg sounded underrehearsed, which could have caused the orchestra to look displeased. 


Anonymous said...

Funny, I would assume that it's the Beethoven that would be under-rehearsed. I'd guess that the conductor would not be too preoccupied by the SFSO playing Beethoven's 7th, which it can do in its sleep, and focused more on the piece they've never ever performed. At least, that's why I'm not surprised the symphony got middling reviews. They'd look even grimmer (or maybe, focused?) if the scheduling gods had put another unknown piece like the clarinet concerto, I think it'd be a premiere too.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Their playing in the Beethoven was absolutely seamless - solid and beautiful string sound, timely wind and brass entries, dynamics observed, etc. The part I hated was entirely Oramo's responsibility.