Friday, March 09, 2018

International Women's Day, 2018, a Bit Late; Includes SFS 2018-19 Season

Davies Symphony Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Seems like as good a day as any for the following:

1. Remembering that time when a blogger/consultant criticized a concert review of a program of art/concert/classical music by female composers as not really relevant, and pointed to a program of popular music love songs as more relevant, because, you know, everybody falls in love! Really! Because whether concert presenters spend two minutes thinking about what they program, and by whom, is just not important.

2. San Francisco Symphony, still referred to regularly as an "innovative" organization, continues to essentially ignore music composed by men and women of color and white women, with the exception of cringeworthy programs such as "Merry-achi" for the annual Latino-themed Christmas program. Here's what we've got next season that was composed by living composers of all sorts, with the program conductor in parens:
  • Anna Clyne, Masquerade (Macelaru)
  • Kevin Puts, Suite from Silent Night (Macelaru)
  • MTT: From the Dairy of Anne Frank (MTT) 
  • MTT: Street Song (MTT)
  • Andrew Norman, Cello Concerto (Reif)
  • Steven Mackey - new work commission & WP (MTT)
  • Steve Reich, Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, (SFS Co-commission), (MTT)
So, we've got more works composed by the music director than by living women. I should note that there's also an overture by the great Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, who has been dead for nearly 50 years, so we have two works by white women scheduled, none that I can find by women and men of color. 

The "comparatively recent music" score (music written within my lifetime) is really not very good either: a bit of Britten, the Bacewicz, works by Barber and Ligeti. Some newer music will undoubtedly emerge in SoudBox, but in Davies proper, what we've got is a lot of Stravinsky (because it's around 12 years since the last Stravinsky Festival! and because he's a composer we just never hear), Beethoven, Debussy, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Mahler, etc. etc. 

It's true that there's an attractive lineup of conductors and some visiting orchestras of note, but good grief, we've got the Czech Philharmonic, a great orchestra, and Semyon Bychkov, a great conductor, and they are playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto (zzzz) and Dvorak's Seventh Symphony. Couldn't they play Janacek? Or another interesting 20th or 21st c. composer?

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts a program that includes some tasty Sibelius; Jane Glover has Messiah this year. The brilliant Elkanah Pulitzer directs Noye's Fludde, a work I've never seen and greatly look forward to.

Here's the conductor lineup:

Manfred Honeck                Oct 11–13, 2018
Pablo Heras-Casado           Oct 18–20, 2018
Cristian Măcelaru              Oct 25–27, 2018
Jakub Hrůša                       Nov 8–10, 2018
Jane Glover                        Dec 14–15, 2018
Jaap van Zweden               Jan 11–13, 2019
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla        Jan 18–20, 2019
Christian Reif                     Jan 24–26, 2019
Herbert Blomstedt              Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2019
András Schiff                     Feb 14–15 & 17, 2019
Daniel Harding                  Feb 22–24, 2019
Franҫois-Xavier Roth         Mar 7–9, 2019
Andrey Boreyko                Apr 11–12 & 14, 2019

Fabio Luisi                        Apr 18–20, 2019
James Gaffigan                  Apr 25–27, 2019
Marek Janowski                 May 2–4, 2019
Krzysztof Urbański            May 23–25, 2019
Juraj Valčuha                     May 30–Jun 1, 2019

Michael Tilson Thomas       Presumably everything else

As far as repertory goes, it is just more of the same.

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