The Little Match Girl Passion at SF Lyric Opera
James Gaffigan named Principal Guest Conductor of Gürzenich-Orchester Köln

Dawn Harms conducts Symphony Parnassus

Timthumb* Notes *
The amateur musicians of Symphony Parnassus barely all fit on the stage of San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Concert Hall yesterday afternoon. The performance began with Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. The playing was not entirely clear but was quite hearty. Before the Der Rosenkavalier Suite and excerpts from that opera, conductor Dawn Harms announced that Frederica von Stade would not being singing, due to a medical emergency in the family. Soprano Melody Moore (Marschallin) had gamely offered to sing von Stade's part in "Ist ein Traum / Spür' nur dich" with Nadine Sierra (Sophie). Both have lovely voices, and Moore did pretty well with Octavian. Concertmaster Robin Mayforth and the rest of the orchestra sounded robust and flowed nicely.

There was much to sort out before Clarice Assad's "SCATTERED," a concerto for scat singing, piano, and orchestra. A piano had to be brought on stage, as did an extensive drum set. The microphone set up for Assad was not operational, so another was used. Unfortunately this new one did not fit in the given stand, and someone had to simply hold it for Assad, since her hands were not free for most of the first movement. The piece did have a lot of appeal, Assad's playing and singing were strong, as was Keita Ogawa's percussion. The orchestra played with spirit.

The second half of the program consisted of Howard Hanson's Symphony No. 2 (1930), known as quite appropriately as "Romantic." The playing was very pretty. Harms accidently threw her baton in between the violas and celli at one point in the second movement, but recovered quickly. Despite not going as expected, the performance was endearing.

* Tattling *
The audience was occasionally restless, and there was light talking at certain moments.