Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jeffrey Kahane conducts Mozart and Mendelssohn

Jeffrey Kahane conducts Mozart and Mendelssohn
San Francisco Symphony
Wed, Apr 21, 2010 8:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall

Jeffrey Kahane, conductor
Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 in D major, K.385, Haffner
Mendelssohn: Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 25
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K.551, Jupiter

Balloons in Davies HallThere was a big turn-out last night for this pleasing program at the SF Symphony. Conductor Jeffrey Kahane, replacing Bernard Labadie, looked vigorous & busy on the podium. He always seemed to be well ahead of the orchestra, yet he did not necessarily try to cue everything either. I was not convinced that the musicians were actually watching him, but the performances of the 2 Mozart symphonies were nonetheless taut & sunny. The precocious Mendelssohn piano concerto matched the Mozart Haffner perfectly in mood. I liked the efficient, dramatic opening, the quiet slow movement with the piano accompanied by only the lower strings, & the springy final movement. Pianist Marc-André Hamelin played tactfully. He was not overly showy, but he still made his points. This symmetrical program of such well-proportioned music left me feeling in perfect equilibrium. I was almost surprised to leave the hall & discover it was dark night outside instead of bright day.

The audience responded warmly to Mr. Hamelin, & several people around us in the front orchestra stood for him. When Mr. Kahane came out for his final bow, he had a hard time convincing concert master Jeremy Constant & the orchestra to rise & accept the applause with him.

The lobby of the Davies Hall was made festive with many helium balloons, in honor of the Symphony's volunteers.

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