Even a bout of rain didn't deter classical music lovers from flocking to Copley Hall for a concert of Richard Strauss's Don Juan, Mozart's Concerto for Harp and Flute, and Debussy's La Mer on Saturday night.

If most of the patrons arrived cold and wet, Maestro Philip Mann and the San Diego Symphony provided a ready remedy with a steamy reading of Strauss's romantically disillusioned musical portrayal of literature's womanizing prowess.

The audience was then treated to Mozart's lovely C minor concerto featuring Demarre McGill (flute) and Julie Ann Smith (harp). Even though McGill's smooth legato phrasing was an odd match to Smith's grainier style, their differences were well moderated by the beautifully supportive string section.

Out of the rain, we were treated to a more pleasant vision of water in Debussy's three part symphonic sketches that give a realistic taste of how it would be like to spend a day by the ocean. By the time the roaring brass and thundering percussion delivered the last of the acoustical tsunamis, we were all again so in love with water that we clapped Maestro Mann into delivering a Bloch piece for an encore.

  • Concert: Strauss, Mozart, and Debussy
  • Show date: February 27
  • Venue: Copley Symphony Hall
  • Seats: W50 (main level)

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jamman Feb. 28, 2010 @ 7:21 p.m.

I must take exception to the word "odd" in this review. Every modern keyboardist's go-to sound patches are those that combine percussive attack with enduring sustain. McGill's legato and Smith's pluck were never so much odd as wonderfully and playfully complementary. Not to subtract at all from the string section's supportive artistry, but the suave yet effervescent dialog between flute and harp needed no moderation. Mozart quite clearly understood the possibilities of interplay between these two very complementary instruments, as we all heard last night when McGill's flute and Smith's harp so expertly sold us on the unity, artistry and beauty of Mozart's composition. (Which, happily, was in C Major.)


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