Friday, November 3, 2023

concert review: San Francisco Symphony

Ludovic Morlot conducted.

Featured work, a crisp and vivid performance of the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. This was supplemented by a screen on which were shown images of works by two local artists whom SFS commissioned to create pictures inspired by the scenes in the music. Fernando Escartiz made chicks in the shells and the Great Gate of Kiev very much like those of Viktor Hartmann who'd inspired Mussorgsky, and his gnome looked like Walt Kelly had drawn it. Liz Hernandez had a plain, black and white style, the sort that makes Grandma Moses look sophisticated.

Augustin Hadelich gave a smooth and effortless run through Dvorak's Violin Concerto.

The opening was a new piece by the French (of U.S. parentage) composer Betsy Jolas. Being 97 years old, Jolas is unsurprisingly an unreconstructed modernist, and her piece was 15 minutes of unreconstructed modernist twaddle.

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