Sheila Pell 11 a.m., Oct. 22
A Step in a Direction: San Diego Symphony (1 of 2)
On Sunday the San Diego Symphony completed their 2011-2012 Jacobs Masterwork Series. The concert was an interesting one.
The first piece was Ansel Adams: America by Chris and Dave Brubeck. This piece of music represents a direction classical music could, or perhaps should, take. There were 102 Ansel Adams portraits that accompanied the music. Or perhaps the music accompanied the portraits, it was difficult to tell.
This is where the friction started. Was this music supposed to be complimenting the pictures? Was it commenting on the photos? Was it representing the photos? It was puzzling. Each time a picture of American grandeur was presented I found myself weighing it against the music.
The music itself may have fared better on its own without the portraits. It was quirky and playful but that’s not what most people associate with the monumental granite of Yosemite. Perhaps the Brubeck’s were trying to challenge our cliché associations.
Whatever the case, I kept thinking how well Pictures at an Exhibition would have worked with the Ansel Adams photos, especially The Great Gate of Kiev. Perhaps that’s just me.
Ansel Adams: America is a step in a direction. I like the direction but I’m not sure the piece works.
The brief Ansel Adams biography, presented by Nuvi Mehta at the top of the concert, was fascinating and insightful.
From what I could tell, the orchestra performed the piece well. I wasn't familiar with the music but each section of the orchestra appeared to have a firm grasp on their part.