Monday, December 01, 2008

Hahn and Gaffigan Go Russki



On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, I went to an all-Russian-music concert by the San Francisco Symphony with The Opera Tattler (click here for her site).



In a grotesque illustration of "carbon footprint," Davies Hall was hosting an Infiniti gas-guzzler in its lobby as part of some marketing scheme...



...which brought out the Spokesmodel at The Car Show in the normally shy Charlise.



The concert was conducted by James Gaffigan, the symphony's Associate Conductor, and started with an obscure Tchaikowsky concert piece, "Voyedova."



This was followed by Hilary Hahn playing the Tchaikowsky Violin Concerto which is a Top 10 compendium of classic tunes that have been played repeatedly on classical radio stations and movies and ads over the decades. It's a great, Romantic showcase and it's easy to see why it's been so plundered.



Hahn is a smart, complex, technically brilliant musician, and she did a nice job with the piece, but this is one chunk of music where an emotional, heart-on-sleeve approach is almost required and that's not her style.



The second half, after a Glinka appetizer, was devoted to Shostakovich's First Symphony, which was published when he was 19. It was a bit of a glorious mess, but the more I hear his music live the more I'm starting to realize he was one of the greats. Gaffigan looked like he was having a ball conducting it.

5 comments:

Ced said...

That first picture came out well!

sfmike said...

Dear Ced: I'm sure it was because of the skillfulness of the photographer.

Axel Feldheim said...

I'm wondering 2 things:

1) How did they drive that huge car into the lobby? it's 1 flight up no matter how you approach it.

2) During the Glinka on Friday night, Gaffigan turned to the audience & shouted "Bravo" & pointed out the clarinet. Had he made a similar demonstration on Wednesday?

And Opera Tattler does make a rather winsome spokesmodel...

sfmike said...

Dear Axel: 1) Good question and I have no idea. 2) No spontaneous "Bravo" from Gaffigan on Wednesday night.

namastenancy said...

You look very dashing and Opera Tattler is simply darling. Shostakovich is a bit of an acquired taste which I haven't acquired yet. However, it was his tragedy to live under Stalin and suffer a lot of restraint and forced conformity.