On Friday Michael Tilson-Thomas lead San Francisco Symphony in a program about the origins of the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony. MTT talked quite a bit and gave musical examples, as he was being filmed for the public television show Keeping Score. He even had Thomas Hampson come out to sing bits from three of the Rückert Lieder. The concert proper began with the Adagietto itself, followed by Donizetti's Funeral March from Dom Sébastien. Hampson returned to the stage to sing the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, which he sang with warmth and sensitivity. The songs themselves were a bit silly, particularly the melodramatic "Ich hab' ein glühend Messer."
After the intermission, Mahler's Symphony No. 1 was played yet again. The playing for the first three movements were not as loud as last week's opening. This was particularly nice for the third movement, the folk-tune themes sounded lovely. The musicians seemed more focused, perhaps because of the dozen cameras in the hall, and the soli sounded beautifully clear. The lower strings remained muffled by the violins because the latter were all downstage. There was not enough back and forth between first and second violins to justify the arrangement. The evening ended with the bluster of the last movement, which certainly was Stürmisch bewegt.
* Tattling *
The audience was exceedingly well-behaved, there were barely any whispers and no electronic noise. Apparently filming a performance inspires silence.