Friday, November 07, 2008
Znaider and Blomstedt, Brahms and Nielsen
This week's program at the San Francisco Symphony is simply wonderful, highlighted by the debut of the 33-year-old violinist Nikolaj Znaider playing the Brahms Violin Concerto.
His initial appearance was rather startling, since he looked more like a football player than a violinist, but he played the dainty instrument beautifully and clearly, with emotion but not an ounce of schmaltz.
I attended the Thursday matinee concert with my friend Louisa...
...and the mostly elderly, female audience was wonderful, except for the pair of serious coughers in the row right behind us who'd wait for the most delicate sections of the Brahms to explode in respiratory distress.
The second half of the concert was devoted to the Danish composer Carl Nielsen's Third Symphony from 1911 which has the delightful name, "Sinfonia espansiva." It was a great performance of a sunny, beautiful piece of music, highlighted by Eugene Chan and Katherine White stepping out onto the terrace behind the orchestra during the second movement Andante and singing "Ah......"
There are $20 rush tickets available for tonight's (Friday) performance, so get yourself down there if possible, or check it out on Saturday evening.
Plus, Nikolaj, after changing from red cumberbund soloist to handsome nerd, is signing CDs in the gift shop afterwards.