* Notes *
Michael Tilson Thomas is amidst conducting San Francisco Symphony in a program of Stravinsky, Villa-Lobos, and Ravel. However, the main attraction of last night's performance was clearly pianist Yuja Wang. The evening began with MTT and Yuja playing Poulenc's Sonata for Piano Four Hands. The piece came off a bit acridly, Wang has a ruthlessness that is impressive. The symphony took the stage for Stravinsky's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. The principal violin and cello sounded strong, and Wang's playing was unyielding. She makes one understand the piano as a percussive instrument, and the contrast between her and the strings was shown in high relief. The soloist got a break during the Villa-Lobos, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9, a very beautiful piece, and beautifully played. Wang returned for Ravel's Concerto in D major for the Left Hand for Piano and Orchestra, and she created a great deal of sound, the end was lively and expressive. After the intermission we heard Le Sacre du printemps. This piece certainly was disturbing, even violent. The woodwinds squeaked a little, but were mostly good, and the violas also played well.
* Tattling *
There was some talking, mostly during the first half. The women in G 105 and 106 of the orchestra level were rather loud, but since they were utterly excited about both Yuja and SF Symphony, it was hard to be too upset with them. A cellular phone was heard between the Rustique and Final movements of the Poulenc.