Sunday, October 16, 2022

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

I had a strenuous schedule for my visit to the City on Thursday. Arrive and park (I wasn't going to lean on public transit for this) at 5 pm when the restaurants open for dinner, have what I hoped would be a quick one (it was 45 minutes) at a place new to me convenient to the city library, then walk over to the library and check out some books I need for my research; then the much longer walk across the civic center to the symphony hall in time for the pre-concert talk at 6:30

I was most concerned to get to the pre-concert talk, because I'd just been assigned to review the concert, and the talk might have useful insights.

Only to find, when I arrived tuckered out - I don't walk fast or easily any more - and barely in time, that SFS has discontinued pre-concert talks this season (this was my first concert of the season), without having announced this. If I'd known, I'd have had an extra hour to work with.

However, that evening and that evening alone, there would be a post-concert interview with the composer and pianist of the concerto being premiered that evening. So that I stayed for, and yes indeed it was exceedingly useful for my review. It also made my departure much later, so I was glad I'd driven.

I've dealt with Magnus Lindberg's music before; that's why my editor asked me to cover this one. I find his music a little clotted and hard to follow, but I have a general handle on it. This was an interesting concerto, though I didn't enjoy it half as much as Mason Bates's last season.

I wrote a sentence comparing EPS's orchestral sound to MTT's and then cut it, thinking it would be useful to save for next week, when I'm also reviewing SFS, and EPS will conduct a showpiece that MTT was spectacular in, the Symphonie fantastique. If the sound comes out the same as this week, I'll know what to say.

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