Tuesday, May 8, 2018

concert catchup

Over the weekend, my editors sent me to hear Symphony Silicon Valley do Haydn's The Creation, and it was good, much better than the last rather low-rent performance I heard. As usual Karen S. was in the choir, which did very well for itself.

Last Thursday, while I was still posting here about Montana, I went up to a San Francisco Symphony concert under Juraj Valčuha, mostly so that I could hear Prokofiev's rough and angular Third Symphony again. This performance smoothed out and made the work as lyric as possible, but without sacrificing drive. It was pretty satisfactory. Ray Chen played the Brahms Violin Concerto, a performance I thought subdued and retiring but which my fellow reviewer characterized as driving and even reckless. Opening up was Unstuck by Andrew Norman, a young composer I've found interesting before. This piece felt like ten minutes of imaginatively conceived, brightly-colored fragments that seemed deliberately designed not to add up to anything.

And a couple weeks ago, before my trip, I was at Herbst for the Takács Quartet, the farewell performance (though the conservative ensemble made nothing out of this) of their founding second violin, Károly Schranz, who's retiring this month. The expected deep consideration of a lot of non-flashy repertoire, Mozart's K. 387, Mendelssohn's Op. 80, and Dohnányi's Second.

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