Friday, December 3, 2021

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

Guest conductor Simone Young roared through Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 like an Australian speed demon at Davies last night. She started fast and got faster, galloping through the finale as if trying to fit the whole movement on a single 78. Or perhaps she was just trying to get it over before the next time a cell phone went off, which happened frequently.

In sound quality this was a traditional Fifth, big and full-bodied, not like any of the crunchy emaciated things we've sometimes heard lately. Solos were pleasingly on-point, because this is the SFS.

Prior to that, Christian Tetzlaff waxed smoothly and eloquently through Elgar's Violin Concerto. But that's about all I can say about this performance of a piece which, like most of Elgar's major works, leaves me cold and uninvolved. Not so the usher at the main door to the seating section, who told anyone who would listen that this concerto always makes him cry.

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