* Notes *
Edwin Outwater is conducting San Francisco Symphony in a program of Gounod, Duncan Sheik, Claude Vivier, and Poulenc this week. Gounod's rather swirly Ballet Music from Faust sounded lovely, especially the woodwinds during the Danse antique (Allegretto). Duncan Sheik's Song Suite from Whisper House, arranged by Simon Hale, involved two amplified vocalists (including the composer himself) and an electric guitar. The singers were easy to hear, even a bit too loud, but the guitar and the harmonium seemed lost under the heavy orchestration. The horns sounded clear at the end of "Earthbound Starlight."
Outwater introduced Vivier's Zipangu, explaining what the word meant and the eerie, jarring sounds to come. The small string orchestra played the unsettling piece with precision. The rest of the orchestra returned for Suite from Les Biches, which sounded jaunty and lush.
* Tattling *
Perhaps it was because there were so few people in attendance that the Center Terrace ticket holders were reseated. The elderly couple next to me in Loge P where extremely amusing. They must have been somewhat deaf, for they spoke at full volume during the music. In the middle of Gounod the male half of the couple said "It's very famous music" and his companion did not comprehend him and asked "Huh?" rather loudly. They did not seem to enjoy the Sheik at all, and I moved to the orchestra level after intermission, so I did not get to hear how they felt about the second two pieces.