Friday's concert at Copley Hall offered music by Dvorak, Bruch, and Tchaikovsky. If many in the audiences weren't familiar with Bruch before, they left the show humming his tunes rather than those of the two better-known names.

Philip Mann opened the show with an hors-d'oeuvre of two selections from Dvorak's Slavonic Dance op. 72 (in B major and E minor), which were briskly dispatched without leaving much of a Slavic flavor in the air. It was just as well since virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell then took the stage and transported the auditorium to raw and beautiful Scotland with his singing violin.

The artist is worth all of his hype. His playing of Bruch's “Scottish Fantasy” rubbed off on the orchestra, which suddenly sprang into life and engaged in a lively musical dialogue with Bell's solo. Kudos to principal flutist Demarre McGill for his exquisite match up with Bell in their brief in-piece duet. The audience's enthusiastic standing ovations were rewarded by a solo encore of Vieuxtemps's virtuosic variation on “Yankee Doodle.”

The night ended on a sluggish note with a really leaden-handed performance of Tchaikovsky's C major string serenade. Anti-climatic is an understatement.

  • Concert: Joshua Bell with the San Diego Symphony
  • Show date: March 12
  • Venue: Copley Symphony Hall
  • Seat: U38

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