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Labor Day weekend saw the San Diego Symphony's Summer Pops concert series' finale under the energetic baton of Matthew Garbutt.

The line up contained well-known favorites (Tchaikovsky's Slavic March and 1812 Overture) along with rarely performed treats (Balakirev's Overture on Three Russian Folk Songs, the first movement from Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, the fourth movement from Tchaikovsky's Mozartiana suite and Dances Cosaque from his Mazeppa). The winds section earned its pay casting a convincingly Slavic aura over the park. The concertmaster, Jeff Thayer, proved a smooth though not very temperamental virtuoso throughout the evening that featured many solo violin passages.

The audience was also treated to bonuses of two excerpts from Tchaikovsky's celebrated Swan Lake Suite, one was guest-conducted by young Saul Garcia who led the Dance of the Swans with aplomb and drew an appreciative round of applause.

The show ended with Tchaikovsky's blustery 1812 Overture's high-octane finale with the additional brass from the U.S. Navy Band Southwest and salvos of theatrical cannons and firework displays on the bay that caused many in the audience to jump from their seats. It was a spectacular ending to the summer pops concert season.

Seats: MM 110
Show date: September 5, 2009
Venue: Embarcadero Marina Park

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