Saturday, January 7, 2023

concert review: San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

I did go out and attend one event on my otherwise hermetic New Year's weekend: the SF Chamber Orchestra's annual New Year's Day concert in Palo Alto. It featured the unusual but highly appropriate - in one sense - pairing of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony, which has only the first two movements of a standard classical symphony, and Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach)'s "Unbegun" Symphony, which has only the last two movements. Appropriate only in the sense that the forms match up; they sound nothing alike.

Also on the program, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, played by a young violinist of skill who nevertheless adopts the unusual practice of just playing the notes as written: the result was somewhat revelatory and startlingly beautiful. And the rare treat of a mid-period Haydn symphony, this being his "Farewell," which SFCO has played before, but not to mark the retirements of its music director as it did this time. His successor has her own tastes and style in programming, and I'll have to cover her work soon.

For the reason I'm telling you about this concert at this late date is to mark the publication of my Daily Journal review. Which leads me to ask any of you who are actually reading the reviews a question, which I can't answer because I have a subscription to the online paper. The DJ is very limited in how much a non-subscriber can read. My understanding is that it's one article a month, after which you get a short clip with a popup asking you to subscribe. My question is, are you getting the reviews? I was quite startled when I sent a link to my previous review to the concert promoter, who wrote back and asked if it was only two paragraphs long. Were they not getting the one free article? Did the popup not appear? None of this was clear to me, but I didn't want to interrogate them; I just sent a file of the full review.

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