Saturday, September 29, 2012

MTT Conducts Mahler's Fifth Symphony

MTT Conducts Mahler's Fifth Symphony, 09.28.2012 MTT Conducts Mahler's Fifth Symphony Davies Hall. San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall.To get to Davies Hall on Friday night, my concert companions & I had to walk through a sea of bicycles that stopped traffic on Market Street. When MTT showed up on the podium at 8:10p, he congratulated everyone for having arrived. He also told us to listen for the electronic & metal-on-metal sounds of the Samuel Adams piece that opened the program. Adams's Drift and Providence uses a large orchestra with extra percussion. It lasts about 20 minutes & is in 5 continuous movements, though I did not discern the different sections. The piece is atmospheric & built on various rolling orchestral textures. The slow-moving climaxes reminded me of Debussy's La Mer. The ending seemed to come out of nowhere, during a series of descending scales. MTT peered out into the auditorium looking for the composer, & after a bit of a delay the young Mr. Adams emerged from the stage door to take a fast bow.

MTT led the Mahler 5 without a score, often swaying & making big swinging gestures. He seemed to be conducting along with the orchestra, or even a little behind it. Tempos were moderate. The violins were split, & the strings had a shimmering sound. I enjoyed the violas' articulated & assertive playing. Principle viola Jonathan Vinocour wailed on his pizzicatos in the Scherzo. The orchestra's texture was somewhat shivery & brittle. The brasses played out brashly & were piercingly loud in the climaxes. The audience was chatty, especially between movements, but did not seem bored or inattentive. They gave the performance an immediate standing ovation & cheered especially for trumpeter Mark Inouye & the brass section.

§ MTT Conducts Mahler's Fifth Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Samuel Carl Adams, electronica
San Francisco Symphony

Samuel Carl Adams: Drift and Providence (West Coast Premiere)
Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 8:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall

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