Rafael Payare made his first appearance because the San Diego Symphony’s music director designate on Thursday evening, the kickoff performance within the symphony’s monthlong “Hearing the Future” pageant.
If there was any auditory clairvoyance in the program, it was within the exciting glimpses of what we’d anticipate subsequent season: boldly performed virtuosic music akin to Strauss’ “Don Juan”; properly finessed renditions of viewers favorites like Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s “Footage at an Exhibition”; and regular collaborations with Payare’s spouse, the tremendous gifted cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Payare had a vigorous presence with sinuous baton work and florid left arm gestures. To signal a pianissimo, he bent on the waist virtually 90 degrees. He hopped round on the podium, at occasions lunging in the direction of the violins or cellos like a fencer’s thrusts.
San Diego Symphony’s music-director-to-be — who officially takes the helm July 1 — has inherited a properly-disciplined, responsive orchestra from his predecessor, Jahja Ling. Regardless of how thick the textures in “Don Juan,” how jagged and intertwined the melodic strands, Payare oversaw clear ensemble enjoying and readability within the balances with out sacrificing one iota of pleasure.
“Footage at an Exhibition” benefited from the gifted principals within the orchestra — and from guest Mark Shannon’s saxophone. Payare formed the actions to make them much more dramatic. He judiciously held back on the dynamic peaks in “The Nice Gates of Kiev” in order that the ultimate fortissimo was all of the more highly effective.
Weilerstein joined the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations.” Her enjoying astounded — perfectly rendered passagework, sensitively phrased, all the time in control regardless of how difficult the technical demands. I’ve by no means heard such an beautiful performance of this piece earlier than. Based mostly on the success of Payare and the symphony’s “Don Juan” — repeated Friday evening — I predict we’ll get an exciting efficiency with Weilerstein of Strauss’ “Don Quixote.”
Payare debuted with the symphony last yr in a blistering account of Roberto Sierra’s “Con madera, metallic y cuero,” an aggressive, challenging late-20th-century work.
Friday night time’s live performance featured two reactionary works from the mid-20th century — Shostakovich’s hysterical, bombastic Symphony No. 10, Op. 93 and the first San Diego Symphony performance of Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. sixty eight. It wasn’t so much “Hearing the Future” because it was “Grooving to the Oldies.”
Britten’s early music was derided by critics as “intelligent,” in the British sense which means “ingenious, however without profundity.” His compositions have been ingenious throughout his career. A musically literate individual can analyze a Britten rating and admire his invention and thought that went into his buildings.
But when Britten’s music is…