Saturday, October 07, 2017

Tip o' the Day

You'll want to see conductor Krzysztof Urbański at San Francisco Symphony this week and in two weeks. I caught this week's program, which was fantastically conducted: 

  • Penderecki, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, ten brilliant and emotionally intense minutes of string writing in many many parts. 
  • Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto, sweetly played by Augustin Hadelich. I didn't like him much in the Beethoven a few years back, and now I think....maybe I just don't like the Beethoven, or maybe it needs more muscular playing than his. A fine Paganinin 21st Caprice as the encore.
  • ....and the real star, Shostakovich's huge Tenth Symphony, fabulously done. I don't know the piece at all and won't say much about the specifics, but you should go!
Random observations: it is weird not to see Mark Volkert in the assistant principal violin chair. Carey Bell now has a goatee; Ed Stephan continues to amaze on the timpani; that must have been the new associate principal oboe, James Button, next to Eugene Izotov during the Shos and in first chair during the Mendelssohn.

The program two weeks out is also a winner: Dvorak cello concert with Sol Gabetta, whom Joshua Kosman raved about after her solo recital some time ago, overture to The Magic Flute, and Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra, a wild piece not heard nearly as often as its older brother by Bartok. Be there or be square.

7 comments: said...

Yes, that was Button on principal for the Mendelssohn and 2nd for Shostokovich. (I asked a friend who was also playing to verify.) Very fine playing!

Did anyone lose it during the Penderecki at your concert? A woman yelled something part way in and again
a few things very near the end. It was just rotten and selfish of her, in my little opinion. Don't like it? LEAVE! Why ruin it for others?

Cell phones. Over and over. Vibrating ones. Ones that play tunes. Sigh. What part of "turn off your cell phones" is difficult to understand, I wonder? And then there was some sort of weird noise ... an alarm maybe? Or something over the speaker system? Dunno.

Did Urbański speak before the symphony? He did at our concert ... just curious .... I've played it several times, but it was great fun to get to sit and listen. What a work!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Izotov' sound is amazing and Button's seems to be the same style. My recollection is that William Bennett had a thinner/lighter sound and Jonathan Fischer had a fatter sound. I'm liking the current sound better than the older sound.

NO, nobody went mad during during the Penderecki!! That's horrible! No audible cell phones! The audience around where I was sitting was just fine.

No, Urbanski spoke Friday night before the Threnody. Shos 10! Amazing piece.

careybell said...

The oboist playing 2nd to Eugene in the Shostakovich and 2nd to James in the Mendelssohn is Liam Boisset, subbing with us this week. Thanks for noticing the goatee...

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hi, Carey!

Oh, facepalm! I should always check with the press office before assuming who is in any particular seat...unless I recognize the player. There's no photo on the SFS web site of James Bell yet, so I have a fraction of an excuse.

Fine playing from Liam Boisset, in any event - and from the entire orchestra.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Beethoven concert. It wasn't the soloist or the composer who was the source of the problem. It was the conductor. Blomstedt was just having one of those days when the energy completely leaks out of his performances.

I got myself tickets to both weeks of Urbanski. I'm looking forward to the Lutoslawski a lot more than I am to the Dvorak, a very hit-or-miss piece.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Here's my contemporaneous report on the Blomstedt/Hadelich program, including your comments

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm not a big fan of the Dvorak, which I heard years ago with Weilerstein. I have heard the Luto in concert, but not locally: Cincinnati with Paavo Jarvi at Carnegie Hall in 2010. Great piece, should be very, very good.