Friday, March 13, 2020

alternative universe

We need a meaningless distraction, so here's one. Let me tote up the concerts I was going to attend this month before they were all canceled. Or postponed, if a time for that ever shows up. So this is a survey of how I prefer to spend my time. Here I am salivating for the meals I'm not going to have.

Tuesday, March 10: Pavel Haas Quartet, Herbst, SF
This one was on my subscription. A Bartok quartet (the Fourth), which is tough but can be interesting, even fun in the right hands; a Martinu (the Sixth), which is likewise, rather unlike the Martinu works I most enjoy; and with the addition of pianist Boris Giltburg, the Dvorak A-major quintet, which is a nice piece but not one I'd normally go a great distance for.

Thursday, March 12: San Francisco Symphony, Davies, SF
Also on my subscription. MTT conducts The Firebird and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2. Gautier Capuçon was to be soloist and he's pretty good. Standard repertoire, stuff MTT is good at, pleasant to hear. Also a piece of MTT's own, Lope, which I know nothing about.

Friday, March 13: Peninsula Symphony, San Mateo PAC
This was to be the last event in the Violins of Hope residency and I was planning to review it for the Daily Journal. They would be playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, one of the more obviously Jewish concertos in the repertoire (and a special jealous-love/hate object for the Nazis), and Prokofiev's Overture on Hebrew Themes, which is an interesting and fun semi-klezmer piece.

Sunday, March 15: Monterey Symphony, Sunset Center, Carmel
I was really looking forward to this one, which is why I was willing to drive all the way to Carmel to hear it. Two rarely-heard symphonies: Tchaikovsky's Third, the most obscure of his numbered canon but a little-known gem, and Shostakovich's Fifteenth, possibly the most cryptic and enigmatic symphony in the repertoire. Why did the composer litter it with quotations of things like the William Tell Overture and Wagner's Fate motif? Nobody knows: I found a clue in his earlier work, but I'm not telling.

Friday, March 20: Oakland Symphony, Paramount Theatre, Oakland
Say what? When I signed up to review this for SFCV, it was because Shostakovich's rarely-played Fourth was on the program. Now it says Brahms's Fourth: a great piece, a favorite of mine, and perhaps Brahms's least-played symphony, but not anywhere near so rare. And the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto again. It was the last concert on the list to be canceled, and I was already considering that I'd best not risk going.

Saturday, March 21: Symphony Silicon Valley, California Theatre, SJ
Big Beethoven program, because it's the birthday. Nakamatsu plays the Piano Concerto No. 2, the lightest of the bunch, and the Choral Fantasy, which is an enormous piece of fluff. Also Schumann's Fourth, my favorite of his symphonies and the piece that was canceled once before, after George Cleve died. Here it would have been conducted by John Nelson, who could also have done an excellent job. I'm sorry to be missing it.

Sunday, March 22: Masterworks Chorale (I don't have recorded where this was to be)
I'd had this marked as a possible Daily Journal review item, and I briefly moved it up the priority list when Peninsula Symphony canceled, until Masterworks canceled too. It was to be Vivaldi's Gloria, a work to really shake up the ears of people whose only knowledge of Baroque choral music is Bach and Handel, and a living composer named Dan Forrest whom I was looking forward to learning something about.

Thursday, March 26: Sir András Schiff, Herbst, SF
On my subscription, but I was looking forward to this even though I'm not very fond of Schiff as a pianist. Yes, it's an all-Beethoven program, but he was going to play the four sonatas of Opp. 26-28 (which includes the "Moonlight"), oh yum.

Saturday, March 28: Jerusalem Quartet, Herbst, SF
On my subscription. I don't know this group, but they were to offer a hefty program of Haydn (Op. 76/2), Brahms (Op. 51/1) and Shostakovich (No. 9).

Sunday, March 29: San José Chamber Orchestra, St Francis Church, Willow Glen
This was going to be exciting. Not only was it a totally new venue for me, but it featured music by five living composers, only two of whom (Judith Shatin and Henry Mollicone) I was familiar with, and two of the pieces were to be premieres. (Now they say they'll do them next season.) I was going to have to do some prep work for this one, since it was an SFCV review assignment.

I have two concerts down - one pencilled in, one review assignment - for the weekend of April 4-5. As of now, they're still on, but I don't expect that will last.

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