Saturday, May 25, 2013

Robertson Leads Ravel And Gershwin

SF Symphony photo IMG_20130522_195550_zpsae2713d8.jpgWednesday night I heard the San Francisco Symphony's buoyant concert featuring pianist Marc-André Hamelin in Ravel's Concerto for Left Hand & Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. I joined friends in the center terrace, where I'd never sat before. For me there was too much sound, & the orchestral balances were of course backwards, but I felt like part of the orchestra, & it was fun to watch the conductor. Maestro David Robertson looked happy & smiled a lot, & he was always well ahead of the orchestra.

The program opened with Variations for Orchestra by Elliott Carter. The music is complex, & I could not tell where the different variations began & ended. The orchestra's sections often play in opposition to one another, & there are a lot of solos. Maestro Robertson made the piece feel connected & gave it a gradually building momentum. Mr. Hamelin was a well-mannered soloist. His bass chords in the Ravel concerto were big & resonant. He sounded elegant in the Rhapsody in Blue after intermission. The opening clarinet solo was smooth, & I liked the jibing trumpet solos. The audience applauded Mr. Hamelin & the soloists appreciatively. The orchestra played cleanly all evening, & the program ended with a nicely flowing performance of Ravel's La Valse, which Maestro Robertson led without a score. The audience responded enthusiastically.

A women in our row ended her cellphone call just as the Ravel concerto started, & then her phone rang during the piece. A cellphone in the side terrace rang as well. My concert companion noticed Lisa Hirsch scurrying along the edge of the stage right before the second half, apparently trying to peek at the cellists' music.

§ Robertson Leads Ravel And Gershwin
San Francisco Symphony 
David Robertson, conductor
Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Elliott Carter
Variations for Orchestra

Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand

Rhapsody in Blue

Wed, May 22, 2013 at 8:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall 


Lisa Hirsch said...

Hahaha. Actually, you missed my companion, Mr. Marcher. We were trying to figure out who was playing timpani. I have terrible eyes and could not find my binoculars Wednesday...

Axel Feldheim said...

We were waving at you & Mr. Marcher, but neither of you seemed to notice us, though it was clear you guys were looking for something. I could only glimpse the tops of the percussionists' head, so I have no idea who was down there either.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I think I am going to have to email SFS about this. I couldn't see, Mr. Marcher was sure it was Jeremy Epp, not David Herbert.

Michael Strickland said...

First time in Center Terrace? I'm surprised. Have always loved it up there, except when there are soloists whose sound is directed out towards the house. They can easily get lost.

Axel Feldheim said...

Lisa: I didn't think it was David Herbert either, but I couldn't be sure...

Michael: I've sat in the side terrace but never dead center, I think. I did feel like I was in the middle of the action. Apparently there are quite a few regulars up there. It was kind of like sitting in the bleachers at a ball game.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Mr. Marcher and I were both wrong. It was Michael Israelievitch. He was pretty great!