Sunday, December 9, 2012

three small concerts

1. Friday. I'm the emergency fill-in reviewer (review) for the Del Sol Quartet concert that evening. In the City. At some old warehouse in the crease between Folsom and Potrero; what am I doing down there? And I only get charged with this task about noon. Del Sol plays new music; amazingly, one of the pieces on the program I already know. I spend what little time I have to prepare by listening to web recordings of music by the other composers. None of it winds up sounding much like the string quartets I hear live that evening, but I do like some of it, especially the second half of this one, which is where I first get the idea that its composer is a man with a "sure sense of dramatic structure." At least I've heard Del Sol often enough that when I write of their evolution in character, I speak from experience.

2. Saturday. Palo Alto Philharmonic, local amateur orchestra. What happens if you invite as soloist a violinist who's more used to playing in orchestras? She plays along with the firsts while waiting for her solo entrance, that's what, as if this were Bach instead of Brahms. In truth, Christina Mok has been getting better at solo work, and now she's better than the orchestra, at least if it's this one. The other half of the program is Americana: Harris' Third Symphony, which the orchestra gets a good handle on, and Ives' Decoration Day, which they don't.

3. Sunday. Free Renaissance music concert in the library. Woman in Ren Faire-type costume, bearing lute. Speaks with a brassy voice, sings higher and clearer and very well. Sings a song I recognize from a Philip Pickett album. Sometimes accompanied by another woman, similarly attired, bearing recorders of varying sizes, mostly inaudible, which turns out to be a relief.

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