Saturday, October 10, 2015

SF Symphony Fall Preview

It's guest conductor season at the San Francisco Symphony this month and there are some interesting programs on the schedule. Tonight, Saturday the 10th, is the final performance for Hungarian piano legend Andras Schiff leading the orchestra in Mozart's final piano concerto followed by Haydn's "Lord Nelson" Mass with the Symphony Chorus, and topped off with 40 minutes of German art songs. The Haydn Mass is a rarity which I have been obsessively playing on YouTube because it is such a fabulous discovery. There are $20 rush tickets available for this evening's performance, and you don't have to be a senior or a student to buy a pair.

The SF Symphony Rush Ticket hotline number is (415) 503-5577, by the way, and it's one of the better deals in San Francisco. Next week from October 15-18, the sensationally gifted violinist Christian Tetzlaff is performing Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto, surrounded by a Mussorgsky overture and Prokofiev's fun, bombastic Fifth Symphony.

Those concerts will be conducted by the Finnish Susanna Malkki, who is visiting for two weeks this year. Her second set of concerts from October 22nd to the 24th starts with contemporary Finnish composer Jukka Tiensuu's Soma and ends with my favorite Sibelius symphony, #5, which I have never heard played live satisfactorily. Maybe this time. In between, Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski plays Chopin's First Piano Concerto. Though Simon disconcertingly resembles a young Mel Brooks, he's a musical poet on his instrument.

The following week, October 28th to 30th, brings the legendary violinist Gidon Kremer (of Kremerata Baltica fame, among other accomplishments) playing Bartok's First Violin Concerto. The young Latvian conductor Andrey Boreyko will be making his debut with the SF Symphony, bookending Kremer with Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite and Tchaikowsky's Suite No. 3.

On Halloween at 7:30, local drag legend Peaches Christ is the host for a 40th anniversary showing of the movie version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The throwing of rice, toast and the use of waterguns will probably not be allowed in Davies Hall, but I have been assured there will be goodie bags with props to ensure the proper communal experience.

On Saturday, November 7th, the annual Dia de Los Muertos concert features the amazing Mexican-American ranchera and jazz vocalist Lila Downs, who is making her symphonic debut. The concerts have grown in popularity over the years, so this year there are two, at 2PM and at 8PM. Make sure you arrive an hour early for the festivities in the various lobbies, which are genuinely festive.


Lisa Hirsch said...

Haydn's masses are rarities only if you rarely attend choral programs. Almost every chorus performs them, because not only are they simply great music, they're well-written for the voice and not particularly difficult to learn. I have sung three or four myself and I have not spent a lot of time in choruses since I got out of school.

Civic Center said...

Dear Lisa: You have unmasked me as somebody who rarely attends choral programs, although I must say that I go to a lot of symphonic programs which feature chorus and I've heard a Haydn Mass live only once before. Certainly had never heard of the "Nelson" Mass before this week, as it's not even collected in what I thought was my complete set of Haydn's musical works, all 150 CDs put out by Brilliant Classics. In any case, I went to the performance last night and it was stupendous, one of the best things I've ever heard in Davies. Great job on everyone's part.