* Notes *
Herbert Blomstedt, conductor laureate and former music director of the San Francisco Symphony, is currently conducting an all Mozart program, which includes Divertimento in D major, K.251, Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major, K.482, and Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K.504, Prague. The last performance is tonight over at Davies Hall.
The Divertimento is perfectly light and the orchestra played well. The oboist sounded especially good. Unfortunately, the audience was strikingly ill-behaved, whispering after each movement with absolute voraciousness. They also clapped after the second and fifth movements.
At least they calmed down for the piano concerto, something about an accomplished soloist was able to command their attention. Jonathan Biss certainly proved virtuosic, his agility is incredible, as his control. He looked a bit bored when waiting to play, as he was fidgeting. When he did come in, he seemed to be racing the orchestra, and at times they were not together. Biss was somewhat theatrical in his movements, but not as extravagant as some. The allegro of the last movement was quite fun, the violins and timpani played particularly well.
The symphony gave a respectable performance of the Prague. There were a couple times when either the trumpets or horns sounded harsh, but otherwise the playing was fine. The tempi were consistent, and the contrasts between dynamics were not dramatic.
* Tattling *
As mentioned before, the audience was uncharacteristically rude, and there were whispers and coughs between every pause. The coughing was flagrant, the worst I have ever heard, but for the most part it was only between movements. At these times, woman behind me also made some reptilian sounds, I am not sure if these signified disgust or were involuntary tics.
I heard a watch alarm in the First Tier for the first half of the performance, at the beginning of the first piece, and in the last movement of the second piece. Instead of being the typical two beeps, this alarm just had one sustained note.
People were enamored by the youth of Mr. Biss, and I overheard more than one person gush about how impressive he is and how very, very young.