… okay … whew! … it’s a busy day when I teach four hour lessons in a row. Okay, I DO have 15 minutes between the first and second students, but still ….

I’m now, at 2:46, enjoying my lunch & latté. And yes, I’m at “my” coffee shop again. (The Abbey in Santa Cruz.) I’m a person who likes the predictable, and this is it for me. Nice coffee, and good atmosphere. 🙂

So … just a wee bit about the San Francisco Symphony concert last night. As readers know, I don’t review things. I mostly just comment a wee bit about the performance.

I had never heard Prokofiev’s American Overture before. I, in fact, knew nothing about it. When I went to emusic I only saw a band arrangement of the work. When we got to the hall I didn’t read the program notes, so I was surprised to see so few people warming up on stage, not realizing there would be all of 18 players there when the concert began. And there were no violins for the entire first half. (Ah, a violinist’s dream, maybe?) I enjoyed the Prokofiev although I can’t say I was thrilled. I was fairly surprised at how loud the 18 musicians were from up on the heights of the second tier, and it did sound a bit muddy (oops, that’s sort of review-like, isn’t it?). Let’s see if I can remember who it was scored for: flute, pic, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, cello, string bass, 2 pianos, 1 celeste, percussion. Am I getting this correct, Dan? I’m sorry I can’t remember how many of each instrument, aside from knowing there was only 1 oboe, 2 string bass and the 2 pianists, each with their own instrument. Anyway, interesting piece, but I wasn’t exactly dying to run out and purchase it.

When I think about the Gubaidulina Violin Concerto I really must say two things come to mind, one of which is pretty darn silly but oh well: 1) Fabulous dress on Mutter! 2) I don’t quite get the piece. I think Dan said he couldn’t wrap his head around it (?) to which I would agree. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure why, aside from really loving the way she scores the winds at times. The four clarinets playing together sounded pretty cool. (No, “cool” isn’t a word a reviewer would use. See? I’m NOT a reviewer!) Anyway, maybe I’ll hear the work again sometime and understand it a bit more. Knowing my brain though, probably not.

After intermission the violins finally decided to show up. (Maybe they just wanted to watch American Idol during the first half?) We finally had the full orchestra, minus Bill Bennett, Steve Paulson, Carey Bell and a ladder (the percussionist used to reach the chimes). Well, the ladder was still there, but just leaned against the wall. (I was surprised they didn’t take it off stage. Yeah, I’m silly that way.) There may have been other members of SFS who left after the first half, but of course I mainly pay attention to the woodwinds. (Yeah, I’m silly that way, too.)

I love Ravel. I love how he sort of twists things. But for some reason I wasn’t as excited about the two works last night. I think it might have been the headache I had for several days (it’s finally gone today!). But still, they were well worth the listen.

Now while I’m not going to review the concert, I WILL review the audience. Geesh! The MINUTE La Valse was over people even — and it seemed especially ‐ in the front rows of the orchestra section got up and left. I mean … MTT is taking a bow and people are filing out. I’ve never seen such a rush to get out the door before. I have never seen anything quite like that in San Jose. Dan and I were astounded. I can see people sneaking out from the balcony or even the back of an orchestra section, but right in front? I thought it looked tacky and rude. I kind of thought maybe the front row of strings should just look out, shrug, and head on out too. And yet we were in “The City” with all those cultured people. Go figure.

2 Comments

  1. I know, right? I blogged about that very audience phenomenon a few months ago when I went to the TSO. What is with that? Am I just spoiled because the KWS’s audience likes to appreciate?

  2. Hmm … maybe I didn’t see your blog entry. I usually remember things like that. I’ll have to read it. Link?

    Anyway, I found it quite annoying. I mean, MTT had to be watching these folks all walk by him as he walked back out to take a bow. Just so weird.