* Notes *
This week Osmo Vänskä conducts San Francisco Symphony in a program of Larcher, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams. Thomas Larcher's eerie, cinematic Red and Green required a large number of instruments, yet was played with tasteful restraint. The sound was never overpowering, even when two of the trombone players hit their instruments with sticks. The brass sounded clear. The dynamic contrasts were impressive. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64 featured concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, who was comfortable playing with the orchestra, and listened to the other musicians intently. It was a subtle, elegant rendering. The two horns and two trumpets were together, and were not muddy. After intermission came A London Symphony from Vaughan Williams. The piece ranges from atmospheric to gaudy, but was played well. The horn solo in the second movement Lento was strong, as was the solo violin in the third movement Scherzo.
* Tattling *
Last night there was some whispering during the first San Francisco performance of the Larcher, but the composer received hearty applause and even a "bravo" when he came to the stage. A watch alarm was heard at 10pm near the end of the Vaughan Williams. I was particularly ill-behaved during this piece, for some reason, I lack the maturity necessary to control my laughter. The Big Ben references made me titter. Unfortunately, I lost my composure when the person in Section E Seat A 9 of the First Tier put her shoeless (but stockinged) foot up upon the railing.