Saturday, January 31, 2015

SF Symphony: Mozart and Bach

Friday night, thanks to the Opera Tattler, I heard the San Francisco Symphony for the 1st time in a while. The audience-friendly program consisted of orchestral & vocal pieces by Bach & Mozart. The opening Bach Orchestral Suite No. 3 had a reduced string section, & the trumpets & timpani seemed loud by comparison. For the famous Air, the string section used minimal vibrato & played open strings, sounding astringent. The trumpet solo in the 1st Gavotte was bright. Conductor Paul Goodwin led without a baton & strongly defined every phrase & accent, though I found the overall result a bit choppy. Maestro Goodwin is tall & did not require a podium.

Soprano Lydia Teuscher smilingly sang Susanna's alternate act 4 aria from Le nozze di Figaro. It's flashier than the standard version, & it was interesting to hear the bassett horn accompaniment. This was followed by a sweetly romantic aria from Mozart's Zaide, which I was completely unfamiliar with. It sounded like something Blondchen from Die Entführung might sing. Ms. Teuscher's voice is clean & pretty, & she has especially smooth, rich high notes. I liked hearing her fluffy rolled R's in the Zaide aria.

After intermission Ms. Teuscher sang a cheerful Bach Wedding Cantata. Oboist Mingjia Liu sat up front for the obbligato part. He sounded secure, solid & forthright & added rapid but discreet ornaments. Cellist Peter Wyrick played a vigorous obbligato in the 2nd aria, & concert master Alexander Barantschik provided a seamless accompaniment in the 3rd. The 4th aria was rollicking, & the bassist jazzily slapped & plucked his part. The final aria had an appropriately dance-like feel.

Mozart's Symphony No. 31 ended the program. Maestro Goodwin led dynamically, with pronounced cues & emphatic phrasing. The Andantino was assertive but elegant & the final movement tightly coiled. The concert was well-attended, though an audience member seated in the orchestra section exited noisily during the Bach cantata, as did 2 people in the terrace. The orchestra appeared appreciative of Maestro Goodwin & gave him a seated ovation when he gestured for them to stand at the end of the concert.

§ San Francisco Symphony: Mozart & Bach
Paul Goodwin, conductor
Lydia Teuscher, soprano
San Francisco Symphony

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3
Mozart: Rondo, "Al desio, di chi t'adora," from The Marriage of Figaro
Mozart: "Ruhe sanft mein holdes Leben" from Zaide
J.S. Bach: Wedding Cantata, BWV 202
Mozart: Symphony No. 31, Paris

Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 8:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall