Friday, September 28, 2018

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

MTT opens his penultimate season as music director with a two-week Stravinsky festival (surprise!1), of which this is the second week's program. Like all Stravinsky festivals, it's built around his three famous early ballet scores for Diaghilev, a concentration of repertoire not appropriate for any composer worthy to be the subject of regular festivals. Regardless, we get two of the three tonight.

I'd be more eager for this if I were more of a Stravinsky fan. As it is, I almost wonder if I really want to go and hear The Rite of Autumn2, I mean Spring, again. But I drag myself there because I know that SFS will do an absolutely splendiferous job on this music, which they do. Likewise on Petrushka and the ringer on the program, the 1931 Violin Concerto in D. Leonidas Kavakos saws off the solo part energetically, and it's generally a much better performance than I ever expected to hear of this piece.

As I walk back to the BART station afterwards, the most peculiar sound is drifting out of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium down the street as I walk by. It sounds like a punk-rock version of Celtic folk, and I find on checking later that that's exactly what it is, a band called Flogging Molly. From behind two thick walls, which is probably the minimum safe distance, it sounds pretty good. At any rate it's attracted an unusually large number of hot dog vendors, cooking franks with bacon and onions on stovetops-on-wheels on the sidewalk outside. If only I were still hungry at 10:30 pm, and if there were somewhere unawkward to eat one before entering the BART station, where food is frowned upon ... but neither of these things is so, so their marketing resourcefulness goes unrewarded by me.

1. I'm being sarcastic.
2. Joke courtesy of B.

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