Thursday, April 12, 2012

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

Of Itzhak Perlman's recent visits here to both play the violin and conduct in the same concert, I found this the most enjoyable. It was certainly the most hefty and lengthy. Two Seasons from Vivaldi, plus a Mozart symphony with all the repeats and Tchaikovsky's Fourth, no svelte chicken itself.

Perlman was rather dry in the Vivaldi solos, and he mostly eschewed joining in on the tuttis in favor of wagging his bow at the orchestra. Conducting Mozart's Prague Symphony and the Tchaikovsky, they came out rather alike: clipped articulation and clear-cut sectioning, joined with a good sense of line to keep the melody going and a fast springing rhythm to keep the energy up.

Usual Perlman shenanigans of checking to make sure that the concertmaster has handed him the correct violin after he's finished seating himself. Scott Fogelsong gave one of his typically self-indulgent pre-concert talks, using Vivaldi's bird imitations as an excuse to insert an entire lecture on the history of the cuckoo in classical music, and bouncing around the stage while playing recordings of Mozart. I hope he doesn't do that if you're seated next to him.

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