* Notes *
San Francisco Symphony is in the midst giving the West Coast premiere of Ted Hearne's Dispatches as part of its New Voices initiative. The opening performance on Wednesday night was engaging, Hearne's music is richly textured and highlights percussion and celli. The cello players in fact each had to place wine corks between the G and D strings for the middle movement.
The new music was paired with Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Soprano Susanna Phillips gave a crystalline account of the piece, her voice was never overwhelming, but has a brightness that cuts through the orchestra without being harsh. Her face is very expressive.
The concert concluded with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, known as Pathétique. Clarinetist Carey Bell played especially well, sounding lovely from top to bottom.
* Tattling *
The people around us on the left side of the orchestra level were fairly quiet. Among those seated nearby was composer John Adams.