Ian Anderson 4 p.m., Oct. 17
A flock of butterflies and a grizzly bear: San Diego Symphony opening night
Sold out. Wait. Sold out?
Yes. Sold out.
As of Friday afternoon, both the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon performances of the SDSO were sold out.
When the doors opened at 7:00 pm on Friday evening, there was a hoard of high heels and blazers pressing forward to enter for the pre-concert lecture.
What was this strange and amazing place? Was this really Copley Symphony Hall?
How about the demographics--bunch of old folks, right?
Not so much. To the casual eyeball it kind of looked like a crowd you'd see at any restaurant. Okay, maybe a restaurant with an early bird special.
After the National Anthem, the 2012-2013 season of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra started with the overture from Beethoven's Fidelio.
The energy in the piece was good and Maestro Ling even got his big, left-footed stomp going a few times.
After the overture, the dude everyone was there to see came out. I heard a hushed voice behind me say, "There he is!"
The pianist, Lang Lang, acknowledged the applause, sat down and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 : The Emperor got under way.
To say that Lang Lang played with a delicate touch is not going far enough.
Had a flock of butterflies fluttered to the piano and landed on the keys, they could not have brushed the ivory and ebony with more tenderness than Lang Lang.
Playing of that order involves risk. Had he played any softer, he would have started dropping notes.
That is not to say Lang Lang only sparkled in the tender passages of Beethoven's masterpiece. No, no, he was brilliant throughout.
After returning to the stage five or six times he treated us to a Chopin Waltz that brought the crowd back to its feet.
The advent of Lang Lang could very well turn out to be a tipping point for the SDSO. The sold out house that had come to see him was treated to a colossal performance of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Anyone in their right mind should want to come back for the whole season after hearing the orchestra tear Mussorgsky a new one.
From start to finish,the brass played like a great howling grizzly bear while the percussion pounded a hole through the floor. The strings and woodwinds played too. They didn't just play but I'm running out of similes.
This is a piece that plays well live. A recording cannot do justice to the avalanche of sound that filled the hall.
During The Great Gate of Kiev as the brass were crushing their ascending triplets, I started to get a little choked up. The swell of that music was overwhelming.
I must agree with the verdict of the patron next to me," How wonderful. Just wonderful."