The San Diego Symphony titled last Friday evening’s Jacobs Masterworks program “Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony”, but when the audience rose to its feet in wonderfully noisy acclamation just before intermission, it was pretty clear that they had spontaneously re-named the evening “Jeff Thayer’s Second”, to honor the San Diego Symphony’s concertmaster for his impressive performance of one of the monuments of the violin repertoire, Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2…
If the four-note thunderclap – da-da-da-DUM – that opens Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony does indeed evoke Fate knocking on our door, that fearsome presence arrived at Copley Symphony Hall in a hurry last Friday evening. Conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, leading the piece without a score before him, launched the first movement with a brisk tempo that riveted both players and audience. I have rarely seen – or heard – the San Diego Symphony playing with so much concentrated clarity as it displayed in the opening pages of what may well be the most famous piece of music in the Western world…
Mid-spring is always a high season for choral performance, so I was programmed to venture out to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pacific Beach Saturday (April 12) to hear San Diego Pro Arte Voices, the new kid on the block in San Diego’s bustling choral scene . . .
Why J. S. Bach composed the B Minor Mass, BWV 232, one of the greatest sacred compositions in western music, may never be known, but Director Ruben Valenzuela and his Bach Collegium San Diego offered two period performances of this exalted work that show how it should be performed . . . .
Following the lead of bass superstars from the great Russian Fyodor Chaliapin to the American Samuel Ramey, Italian basso Ferruccio Furlanetto counts the title role of Jules Massenet’s Don Quixote as one of his signature roles, which he reprised for San Diego Opera Saturday (March 5) to thunderous, well-deserved acclaim . . .
Franz Schubert once claimed that the genius of Beethoven was generated by “superb coolness under the fire of creative fantasy.” In her long overdue San Diego debut, pianist Mitsuko Uchida offered probing accounts of Schubert and Beethoven that encompassed those opposite poles . . .