Friday, March 09, 2007

Stuff I should have blogged in November 2006

On the 11th heard the San Francisco Choral Society perform the Mozart C Minor Mass at Calvary Presbyterian. Another of my favorite pieces, & I enjoyed hearing it in this setting with a big community choir.

Gidon Kremer gave an incredible "After Bach" recital at Zellerbach Hall on the 16th. It was all pieces by Bach & 20th century works that related to Bach in some way. He performed with a young pianist & an amazing vibraphone player that I remembered hearing with the Kremerata Baltica. Kremer is one of my favorite performers. His playing makes me feel nervous, but in a good way. This was a program with pieces in widely different styles, yet somehow it all went together perfectly. Highlights of the evening were impressive solos by each performer. Kremer did the Bartok Solo Sonata. The pianist gave a profound intepretation of 2 Bach Choral Preludes. The percussionist Pushkarev performed clever jazz arrangements of 3 Bach Inventions & flirted shamelessly with the audience. I was thinking about this recital for days afterwards.

I checked out the Art of Gaman exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. I'd never been to their little space right near Moscone Center. This was an exhibit of arts & crafts done by inmates of the Japanese American Internment camps of WWII. I was especially glad to see Obata's drawings of daily life in camp. It's a compact exhibit, easy to take in within a half hour. It's also very educational & seems geared for school groups. For example, to demonstrate how small the living quarters were, they erected an open room in the center of the exhibit space that has the dimensions of a typical barracks occupied by 1 family. I liked the window display for the exhibit. It is an installation of strings of paper cranes that form the design of the American flag & behind it an evacuation poster.

I saw the latest Aardman/DreamWorks animated feature Flushed Away. I was in a theater with mostly mothers & their young children, & I think I found it funnier than most of the kids. I loved the character Sid & his shirt that seems to be made from Y-fronts. & the Ninja frogs with their mime. But what about those slugs singing "On the dock of the Bay"? Who is this movie really for? Kids aren't going to get that!

The SF Symphony had a really fun holiday subscription concert. They screened Chaplin's City Lights with the orchestra playing the original score live. Darned impressive feat, though in the end I'm not sure that having a live orchestra improves the experience of seeing this most perfect of classic movies.

Thanksgiving weekend I was in Los Angeles, & I dragged my host to the newly refurbished Griffith Park Observatory. Very cool historic building & lots of exhibits, but we both agreed that the planetarium show, which I expected to be the highlight of the visit, was incredibly lame.

I generous acquaintance brought me to Herbst Theatre on the 28th to hear the Rossetti String Quartet's program of Mozart, Debussy & Dvořák. This was an odd act. The members are all tall young men, & they looked like they were trying to be the boy band of string quartets. My concert companion referred to the seemingly muscle-bound violist as "The Boxer". In the 1st half he wore a big gold chain & a shirt unbuttoned at the top. When he came out for the 2nd half, he was wearing a bandana. They each play well, though their individual styles are mismatched.

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