Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Conductor Eun Sun Kim kept the orchestra in check during the Sibelius

The obligatory ten minutes of nonsense

Jean Sibelius. His Violin Concerto is one of the toughest nuts to crack.
Jean Sibelius. His Violin Concerto is one of the toughest nuts to crack.

Ah, the impermanence of all things. After last week’s peak musical experience at the San Diego Symphony, we were bound to come down off the mountaintop. The concert on Friday, February 28, was good but probably came off as less than it was because of its proximity to the previous concert.

The concert started with the obligatory ten minutes of nonsense which tried to pass itself off as legitimate concert music. I suppose that since it is being performed at a concert it is “concert music” but that doesn’t make it legitimate, in my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me. This time the piece was Spin-Flip, by Texu Kim.

Video:

Nonsense, Sibelius, and Rachmaninoff

Garrett Harris and John Polhamus give their evaluation of the SD Symphony concert.

Garrett Harris and John Polhamus give their evaluation of the SD Symphony concert.

I would like to propose that contemporary composers be restricted from the use of the percussion section save two pieces. Pick two pieces of percussion and let us hear what you can do without the whirls and rattles. I seek not to offend the members of the percussion section, but I’m afraid that’s unavoidable. The orchestral petting zoo needs to be closed.

Next was the Sibelius Violin Concerto, a piece I have raved about in past years. Yet the fact remains, it is one of the toughest nuts to crack in the violin concerto repertoire. It is moody and episodic and requires a violinist to go to those dark woods, wherein the shadows dwell, and stay there for a long, long time.

Violinist Nancy Zhou is an emerging artist. As a 21-year-old virtuoso, she has won a few competitions and is at the start of what could be an illustrious career. I do not think she is ready to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto, yet perform it she did. Zhou had all the notes but, to my ear and experience, she fell short of making a compelling case for why I should care about Sibelius’s music.

I liken it to a young opera singer. There is a natural progression of roles based on the singer’s abilities and experience. A 21-year-old soprano might have all the notes to sing the role of Brunhilde, but no one thinks she should.

Conductor Eun Sun Kim led the concert. She is the new music director of the San Francisco Opera, and her ability to coordinate the balance between the orchestra and a soloist was on full display. This is, of course, the most important skill and opera conductor can have.

Maestro Kim kept the orchestra in check during the Sibelius in order to keep Zhou’s tone present. This did lead to some rather muted orchestral sections but that’s the nature of live performance.

The final piece of the concert was Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, and Kim brought more energy to the piece. The problem is that it is Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3. There is some commendable music in the piece but it is something other than the Rachmaninoff we all know and love. The Third Symphony is what happens when Sergei tries to force a smile when he is, in fact, a “six-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl”–according to Stravinsky.

One final point, the symphony officially has a trumpet issue.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Can You Escape?, Vote Ready Concert, I Love a Clean San Diego

Events August 13-August 15, 2020
Jean Sibelius. His Violin Concerto is one of the toughest nuts to crack.
Jean Sibelius. His Violin Concerto is one of the toughest nuts to crack.

Ah, the impermanence of all things. After last week’s peak musical experience at the San Diego Symphony, we were bound to come down off the mountaintop. The concert on Friday, February 28, was good but probably came off as less than it was because of its proximity to the previous concert.

The concert started with the obligatory ten minutes of nonsense which tried to pass itself off as legitimate concert music. I suppose that since it is being performed at a concert it is “concert music” but that doesn’t make it legitimate, in my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me. This time the piece was Spin-Flip, by Texu Kim.

Video:

Nonsense, Sibelius, and Rachmaninoff

Garrett Harris and John Polhamus give their evaluation of the SD Symphony concert.

Garrett Harris and John Polhamus give their evaluation of the SD Symphony concert.

I would like to propose that contemporary composers be restricted from the use of the percussion section save two pieces. Pick two pieces of percussion and let us hear what you can do without the whirls and rattles. I seek not to offend the members of the percussion section, but I’m afraid that’s unavoidable. The orchestral petting zoo needs to be closed.

Next was the Sibelius Violin Concerto, a piece I have raved about in past years. Yet the fact remains, it is one of the toughest nuts to crack in the violin concerto repertoire. It is moody and episodic and requires a violinist to go to those dark woods, wherein the shadows dwell, and stay there for a long, long time.

Violinist Nancy Zhou is an emerging artist. As a 21-year-old virtuoso, she has won a few competitions and is at the start of what could be an illustrious career. I do not think she is ready to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto, yet perform it she did. Zhou had all the notes but, to my ear and experience, she fell short of making a compelling case for why I should care about Sibelius’s music.

I liken it to a young opera singer. There is a natural progression of roles based on the singer’s abilities and experience. A 21-year-old soprano might have all the notes to sing the role of Brunhilde, but no one thinks she should.

Conductor Eun Sun Kim led the concert. She is the new music director of the San Francisco Opera, and her ability to coordinate the balance between the orchestra and a soloist was on full display. This is, of course, the most important skill and opera conductor can have.

Maestro Kim kept the orchestra in check during the Sibelius in order to keep Zhou’s tone present. This did lead to some rather muted orchestral sections but that’s the nature of live performance.

The final piece of the concert was Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, and Kim brought more energy to the piece. The problem is that it is Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3. There is some commendable music in the piece but it is something other than the Rachmaninoff we all know and love. The Third Symphony is what happens when Sergei tries to force a smile when he is, in fact, a “six-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl”–according to Stravinsky.

One final point, the symphony officially has a trumpet issue.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

What a teachers union has done to Gompers

29 teachers laid off in June, re-hired in July
Next Article

Don't forget Escondido

We're still spaying cats in San Diego
Comments
1

Ahh yes, contemporary composers. I'll go farther and say the truth: I don't care for much of anything written by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, or even Aaron Copeland. So much of it seems atonal (if that's the right term) to me. It is a good thing that those newer composers have an audience of music lovers who appreciate the stuff. I'm just not one of them.

March 4, 2020

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close