Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bay Area Rainbow Symphony

Bay Area Rainbow Symphony
Daniel Canosa, Artistic Director and Conductor

Saturday, March 27, 2010, 8pm
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Franz Schubert: Overture to Rosamunde

Felix Mendelssohn: Thou, Lord, Our Refuge
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
Carl Pantle, Associate Director

Eric Whitacre: Lux Aurumque
Vocal Minority - Carl Pantle, Associate Director

Johannes Brahms: Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53
Marla Volovna, mezzo-soprano
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

Jean Sibelius: Symphony no. 2 in D major, Op. 43

BARS ReceptionI was at the 2nd of 2 performances of a very full program by the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, a community orchestra launched in 2008. As the audience was being seated before the concert proper, principal players from the orchestra offered 3 movements from Martinu's Nonet #2. Martinu is rather unusual promenade music, but it did demonstrate that BARS intends to make serious music. The orchestra has players of a wide range of ages, & there are apparently many SF Conservatory students. The ensemble was well-prepared & played quite securely. The flute & trombone sections have fine soloists. The orchestra tired a bit during the long second half, but I certainly never heard any tentative moments. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus sang with finesse in the hymns by Mendelssohn & Whitacre. I enjoyed the ending of Whitacre's Lux Aurumque, in which the higher voices sustain a falsetto note for a seemingly impossible duration.

The Conservatory's concert hall was packed. After the performance, there was a wine reception downstairs, which quickly became too crowded to move in comfortably. It looked like some food was laid out, but it had disappeared by the time I got close to the table. The BARS audience is probably just too large for this venue. After the reception, the party moved to a nearby sports bar.

BARS seems to have quite a successful organization already. Before the concert, an appeal was made to raise funds for a timpani, & we were given a humorous demonstration of what the Scherzo of Beethoven's 9th might sound like without this vital instrument. During the intermission, there was a silent auction in which the prize was a seat on stage, in the middle of the orchestra, for the performance of the Sibelius.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was there too, and WOW, what a astounding performance. The orchestra is the best in the community by far, and the men from the gay mens chorus were breathtaking. You're right, you could see the exhaustion on the musicians faces, but the Sibelius and overall program was no small feat: the important thing is they didn't sound tired. This group really gave it their 110%, and they succeeded. I'm looking forward to their pride concert.