Taiwan Philharmonic came to San Diego on Halloween.
The Taiwan Philharmonic played a fine, fine, concert on Wednesday, October 31, at Symphony Hall. The only problem is that it was Wednesday, October 31 and the audience attendance did not reflect the excellence of the concert. In other words, San Diego didn’t show up. To anyone familiar with San Diego as a whole, that’s not a surprise.
Garrett Harris and John Polhamus talk shop...
...regarding the Taiwan Philharmonic.
I imagine there was concert fatigue happening with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra on Wednesday, October 24, and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 coming up on November 2 and 4.
For those of us who attended, we were treated a program of fantastic music. The first piece of note was Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by Stephen Hough.
This was the third time I’ve heard Hough, and he dominated. Hough captures the essence of an iron fist in a velvet glove. That is not to say that he plays with his fist but that his technique is iron and velvet. Franz Liszt was a superstar of music, and he wrote this piece for himself in order to show himself.
The piece flails as Liszt provides a duet between the piano and the triangle. I understand the triangle is a legitimate orchestral instrument. It shows nicely in several masterpieces such as “The Ride of the Valkyries”. However, in this case it is odd.
The second half of the concert was about the early 20th Century French masters Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Both are categorized as impressionists, but that’s an oversimplification.
Debussy’s La Mer has been my favorite piece of orchestral music from time to time. This performance, conducted by Shao-Chia Lü, was a little quick, but with La Mer it is better to be quick than slow. All the magical elements of this homage to the sea were executed with beauty in delicate and forceful guises.
The more I hear Ravel in live concerts the more he rises in my esteem. The sunrise scene in his Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 2 shimmered with sunlight and dew drops in an idyllic Grecian setting.
The Taiwan Philharmonic concludes its West Coast tour in Seattle and San Francisco.