Hilary Hahn

Hilary Hahn at SFS

  * Notes *
James Gaffigan conducted San Francisco Symphony in a program of Russian music last weekend. The evening began with Tchaikovsky, first his Voyevoda, which was rather incidental, but played well, and then his Violin Concerto. The soloist in the latter was the famed Hilary Hahn, and she could be both ferociously aggressive and delicately restrained as the music dictated. Her style was not as lush as it could have been for Romantic music, but her technique was flawless.

After the intermission came Glinka's Kamarinskaya, a perfectly delightful piece. The concert ended with Shostakovich's rather bombastic Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10. Both were played with little subtlety, but much vigor.

* Tattling * 
People spoke during the music as usual. I was told that people were ill-behaved during the Violin Concerto, phone usage was mentioned, and the audience applauded once between movements.

It was an amusing evening, as evidenced here at sfmike's Civic Center.

Hauschka with The Magik*Magik Orchestra

  * Notes *
Hauschka played a prepared piano concert with members of The Magik*Magik Orchestra last night at the Hotel Utah. The sounds produced by prepared piano can be rather harpsichord-like, which has a certain appeal. The accompaniment of two celli, two violins, and two oboes was also pleasing, the playing was strong, particularly on the part of cellist Lucas Chen. Hilary Hahn, who is in town for the Tchaikovsky concerts this week at SF Symphony, was the guest star of the evening. She played with Hauschka and The Magik*Magik Orchestra for one piece, but also played with Tom Brosseau earlier in the evening. Naturally they did have Ms. Hahn play a bit on her own as well, and she played Schubert's Erlkönig transcribed for solo violin by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and a movement from a Eugène Ysaÿe piece. Hahn played Erlkönig with utter ferocity, and at one point near the end she stopped, said "That is not how it ends," and continued to play.

The evening began with Gloria Justen playing three pieces she had written for solo violin. Her "Mothdance" sounded very much like one would expect, quite descriptive. Ross Edwards' Ecstatic Dances written for two flutes was played by oboists instead, and also had an insectile feel. Terry Riley's lush "Francesco en Paraiso" from Cantos Desiertos was played beautifully by guitar and flute.

* Tattling * 
The audience was quiet and attentive. There was some slight noise from the bar. There were no set intermissions and the sold-out show started late, so people would leave and return during the music. I was particularly distracted by a photographer who pushed his way past me during Hilary Hahn's second appearance on stage.