Wednesday, March 18, 2015

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

Haydn concert conducted by Ton Koopman. Strong and hearty performance of Symphony No. 98. This is the one in which the continuo breaks out into a brief solo near the end of the finale. Since there was no continuo in this performance, Robin Sutherland sat not at his harpsichord - where, perhaps, people might wonder why he was not playing - but in a chair at the back of the stage, far behind the other players, until his turn came and he walked an elaborate path over to the keyboard.

Also, Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, a work I've never thought much of, but which was well played tonight. The power of clarity of Mark Inouye's trumpet was, unsurprisingly, outstanding.

That all being so, why was the suite from Handel's Water Music so dull and lifeless? The semi-natural horns (crooks but no valves) sounded strangulated half the time, and the period-style orchestra sounded generally tinny. Handel was neither hearty nor grand.

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