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

Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms in Escondido

Payare levitates for the victory

Johannes Brahms - Image by Public Domain
Johannes Brahms

The best concert I’ve been to in a while happened on Friday, November 18 at The California Center for the Arts Escondido. Rafael Payare proved, yet again, that the San Diego Symphony is a force to be reckoned with—at least when he’s on the podium.

The concert began with the “Prelude and Liebestod” from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Wagner himself approved this concert version. The performance was all anyone could hope for. When a legendary piece of music receives a competent performance it can be magical. When the performance itself borders on legendary then the goosebumps begin to appear. Such was the case on this evening.

Unfortunately, the performance was marred by the most aggressive speaker feedback I’ve ever heard. One might even say that it was Wagnerian in nature. The body language of the orchestra confirmed their disappointment. They knew they were making a spectacular statement as an ensemble and an unforced technical error interrupted that for the San Diego Symphony. Why the speakers were on is beyond my comprehension. I understand the microphones being on for a recording but the house speakers are not needed for recording.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The performance carried on and suffered little from the circumstances. The conclusion carried the full force of Wagner’s five-hour exploration of day and night distilled into about 20 minutes. Credit must be given to the musicians for delivering this masterpiece in the face of adversity.

Wagner’s great friend, Franz Liszt, was up next with his Piano Concerto No. 2. There is a chasm between Liszt and Wagner when it comes to writing orchestral music but the piano part was another matter. The raw athleticism associated with Liszt was absent in the opening section being replaced by a lyricism that pianist Marc-André Hamelin expressed admirably. When it came time to flex the pianistic muscles, Hamelin was also up to the task.

Video:

Brahms: Symphony No. 1

The final piece of music was Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 1. Brahms had previously made several attempts at writing a symphony, one of which became his Piano Concerto No. 1. What held Brahms back was the sound of Beethoven’s giant footsteps. He once claimed, “I shall never write a symphony! You can’t have any idea what it’s like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!”

The symphony literally starts with the ominous footsteps being pounded out of the timpani. After the Liszt piano concerto, the imposing structure of Brahms’s symphonic writing was all the more obvious. The feeling was like standing at the base of the Empire State Building for the first time. Payare and his San Diegans were up to the task of scaling Brahms’s symphonic argument that opposed the overt emotionalism of Wagner’s Tristan. I found it to be a masterful stroke of programming.

Maestro Payare gave the orchestra everything he had and they reciprocated. There were a few dodgy moments in the brass but they were there to deliver the victory when it mattered most in the closing bars. It looked as if Payare was going to begin levitating on the stand as he rampaged to the conclusion leaving the audience overwhelmed by a concert that delivered the goods from start to finish.

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

Peutz Valley – the fire did not kill our spirit

Alpine Planning Group, SDGE power cuts, no high school yet, Farlin Rd. after Viejas fire, coyote woman on Deercreek Canyon, Alpine Beer Co.
Next Article

Blood all over north San Diego County

Eva Knott's favorite stories she has written for the Reader
Johannes Brahms - Image by Public Domain
Johannes Brahms

The best concert I’ve been to in a while happened on Friday, November 18 at The California Center for the Arts Escondido. Rafael Payare proved, yet again, that the San Diego Symphony is a force to be reckoned with—at least when he’s on the podium.

The concert began with the “Prelude and Liebestod” from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Wagner himself approved this concert version. The performance was all anyone could hope for. When a legendary piece of music receives a competent performance it can be magical. When the performance itself borders on legendary then the goosebumps begin to appear. Such was the case on this evening.

Unfortunately, the performance was marred by the most aggressive speaker feedback I’ve ever heard. One might even say that it was Wagnerian in nature. The body language of the orchestra confirmed their disappointment. They knew they were making a spectacular statement as an ensemble and an unforced technical error interrupted that for the San Diego Symphony. Why the speakers were on is beyond my comprehension. I understand the microphones being on for a recording but the house speakers are not needed for recording.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The performance carried on and suffered little from the circumstances. The conclusion carried the full force of Wagner’s five-hour exploration of day and night distilled into about 20 minutes. Credit must be given to the musicians for delivering this masterpiece in the face of adversity.

Wagner’s great friend, Franz Liszt, was up next with his Piano Concerto No. 2. There is a chasm between Liszt and Wagner when it comes to writing orchestral music but the piano part was another matter. The raw athleticism associated with Liszt was absent in the opening section being replaced by a lyricism that pianist Marc-André Hamelin expressed admirably. When it came time to flex the pianistic muscles, Hamelin was also up to the task.

Video:

Brahms: Symphony No. 1

The final piece of music was Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 1. Brahms had previously made several attempts at writing a symphony, one of which became his Piano Concerto No. 1. What held Brahms back was the sound of Beethoven’s giant footsteps. He once claimed, “I shall never write a symphony! You can’t have any idea what it’s like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!”

The symphony literally starts with the ominous footsteps being pounded out of the timpani. After the Liszt piano concerto, the imposing structure of Brahms’s symphonic writing was all the more obvious. The feeling was like standing at the base of the Empire State Building for the first time. Payare and his San Diegans were up to the task of scaling Brahms’s symphonic argument that opposed the overt emotionalism of Wagner’s Tristan. I found it to be a masterful stroke of programming.

Maestro Payare gave the orchestra everything he had and they reciprocated. There were a few dodgy moments in the brass but they were there to deliver the victory when it mattered most in the closing bars. It looked as if Payare was going to begin levitating on the stand as he rampaged to the conclusion leaving the audience overwhelmed by a concert that delivered the goods from start to finish.

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

The Light Church: learning how to be human

Jesus had his diaper changed.
Next Article

La Jolla RU-486 mogul exposed by Mother Jones

Gore and Kolender's lawyer hired by Orange County, but not without criticism
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it 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 Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week 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 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