San Diego Symphony website
Payare admits a new piece of music by Penderecki didn’t speak to him but that over time it opened up.
In its most recent online streaming concert, the San Diego Symphony showed off the string section in a concert entitled A Shimmer of Strings. This is the way I will now refer to all gatherings of stringed instruments. There is now “a school of fish”, “a murder of crows”, and “a shimmer of strings.”
The concert is available by subscription only through the San Diego Symphony website.
Mozart has played a prominent role so far in the digital live streams for the San Diego Symphony. This most recent concert was no different. The strings of the orchestra presented Mozart’s Divertimento in B-flat Major K. 137.
Over the years, Mozart has not been one of the featured composers at Symphony Hall. We might get a concerto or two and a symphony or choral work but by and large, the 19th and 20th Century composers have been more prominent.
Music director Rafael Payare appears to be focusing the orchestra’s attention on Mozart and we, the audience, are the beneficiaries. We are the beneficiaries because the orchestra is starting to play Mozart with the attention to detail that makes his music appealing.
Without the proper phrasing and musical emphasis, Mozart’s music can feel tedious. I admire the orchestra’s efforts with Mozsrt during this online season.
Following Mozart was Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and his “Adagio for Strings”, from his Symphony No. 3. Before the performance, Maestro Payare shared some of his personal relationship with Penderecki. One thing, in particular, caught my interest.
Payare explained that he received a new piece of music by Penderecki that was to be prepared for a conducting competition. When he first studied the score, Payare admits it didn’t speak to him but that over time it opened up and he was able to go on and win the competition.
This has been my experience with being in operas such as Nixon in China and Murder in the Cathedral. In the early rehearsals, the music didn’t do much for me but after a month of musical rehearsals along with staging, I came to love these operas as a performer.
Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t have the time to spend with new music in order for it to open up. We get the performance and that’s about it. With that in mind I listened to this performance of Penderecki three times and lo and behold I found myself enjoying it and the performance. Would I have done that without maestro Payare’s comment? No.
The Dvorak Serenade for Strings was the final piece of the concert. As with the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings from last month, there is really nothing more to ask of Payare and the strings. It was ideal.
Payare appears to be that rare conductor who doesn’t just know what to say about music, he knows how to get the orchestra to do it. Almost any conductor knows what to say about music and how to perform it well. Few know how to make it happen.