* Notes *
Carlos Kalmar is currently conducting San Francisco Symphony in a program of Schnittke's Moz-Art à la Haydn, Haydn's Symphony No. 97, and Orff's Carmina burana. Last night's performance commenced with the amusing piece by Schnittke, scored for 13 strings and conductor, the ensemble was clear and incisive. The two violin soloists, Alexander Barantschik and Dan Nobuhiko Smiley, were especially good. Likewise, the Haydn was played with a pleasing lightness, with fine contrasts of dynamics and tempi. The rather silly Carmina burana was also played and sung beautifully. The brass was, however, not very pretty during "Veris leta facies." The San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Pacific Boychoir, and the Crowden School Allegro Chorus all sounded lovely. Both the tenor and the baritone soloists, Nicholas Phan and Keith Phares, sang with animation. Joélle Harvey (pictured, photograph by Arielle Doneson) glistened as the soprano soloist. Her bright, flexible sound was the highlight of Orff's piece.
* Tattling *
The Carmina burana Laser Lightshow Appreciation Society attended this event, and were seated in the very last row of Davies Hall. There was talking from the elderly people in Row J Seats 2-10, and a watch alarm sounded from this area during "Dies, nox et omnia." An exceedingly bored child was sitting in Row H Seat 10, he checked his mobile phone many times, talked, left for the Haydn, and became annoyed when he was told he could not leave during the Orff by the person who brought him. I too had the most terrible time taking Carmina burana seriously, the music simply made me laugh, and it was difficult to not disturb some around me.