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Ernie Grimm 8:30 a.m., Oct. 13
The San Diego Symphony is on fire. Their opening weekend was an orchestral tour de force.
The Symphony put three masters of orchestration on the program and handled their business.
The first half of the program was Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture and Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major.
After intermission we heard Ravel's Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand and Respighi's Roman Festivals.
The Ravel Piano Concerto in G, particularly the second movement, is a piece of music that holds a special place in my life's soundtrack. After the Berlioz and the first movement, I knew my precious second movement was in good hands but I didn't expect it to bring me to tears.
There was nothing more I could have asked of Jean Yves Thibaudet.
According to the program, The San Diego Symphony is now a Tier One orchestra. No doubt. In the Ravel G Major, several of the principal players had exposed solos and they were masterful. Benjamin Jaber (principal horn) and Sarah Skuster (principal oboe) were phenomenal.
I remember the days when that wasn't the case. I went to the symphony often back in the day when the strings were penurious and the brass shamed themselves at least once during the course of the concert. Those days are long gone.
Sunday's performance was as flawless as live music gets. The Respighi is a monstrous piece of music and The San Diego Symphony blew the roof off of the building. It'll cost a fortune to repair but it was well worth it.
Two audience gripes:
First, where was everyone? Get thee to the symphony San Diego. The balcony was barren. I was thinking about heading over to Qualcomm and kidnapping about 600 Chargers fans but then I was told the Chargers didn't sell out either.
Second, what is up with the coughing during the quiet music? As soon as the second movement of the Ravel started, Symphony Hall became a tuberculosis ward. I made a point of listening for coughs after the quiet music. None. Is it some subconscious response to intimacy?
"Uh, this music seems a bit, cough-cough, intimate."
Hold your coughs until the forte. I didn't hear any coughing that sounded like it couldn't wait. You know what I mean. None of the cough-ers were moving "material" around. They sounded like nervous clearings of the throat.
Thank the lord I wasn't sitting next to a "loud breather".
The next concerts are on the weekend of October 14th and feature the music of Richard Strauss, Schumann, Bach, and Mozart. http://www.sandiegosymphony.org/calendar/view.aspx?id=2599