The San Francisco Symphony: Beethoven and Strauss

I went to the San Francisco Symphony tonight. The Beethoven Eroica Piano Concerto was one of the most gorgeous performances I’ve ever heard in my lifetime. Flawless. Perfection. I can’t think of anything that could have been done more beautifully. Conductor: Daniel Harding, a Frenchman Pianist: Paul Lewis, a British fellow The pianist’s performance was unparalleled! Every note, every phrase,… Continue reading

What Just Happened?! [Updated]

I was completely unfamiliar with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, which pianist Denis Kozhukhin performed last tonight. Words fail me in describing this musical experience. The piece is insanely difficult, filled with explosive, muscular rhythmic dissonances that create a complex musical texture accompanied by powerful, angular, quasi-a-tonal melodic machinations that survive the fray generally under the pounding… Continue reading

By Comparison: SFS/ASO

I suppose we become spoiled bit by bit, without really being aware of the process. When we repeatedly experience something marvelous, and are even acutely aware of how extraordinary the experiences are, we still seem somewhat unaware that our expectations for this new, higher level of perfection are also growing. I recently had this expectation of excellence clearly defined for… Continue reading

The Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto

If I were forced to pick only one piece of music as my favorite work, it would probably be Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. The now forgotten music critics of his day bashed the 2nd piano concerto as emotional drivel, in fact, tended to bash Rachmaninoff’s work in general. But this work in particular, along with many others, remains a favorite… Continue reading