Wednesday, March 09, 2005

symphonic sound

Last Saturday, we went to Davies to see MTT's San Francisco Symphony (and a guest pianist, Vladimir Feltsman) perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. I'm not great with the names of orchestral pieces, so it was best described to me by my roommate as "that really famous one on the piano", accompanied by her humming of a few opening notes. It was preceded by a very short piece, Stravinsky's Scherzo à la russe and followed by Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15. I enjoyed the evening very much, although I did find the Shostakovich a little harder to follow. Of course, the fact that we went to Citizen Cake for dessert didn't hurt.

Ironically, two days later, we were in the city again, this time at the Masonic, to see the Symphony Silicon Valley play a selection of music from Final Fantasy. Yes, the games. It was a very different experience. Several audience members were dressed up as characters from FFVII, FFVIII, and FFX. I had been at the Masonic previously to watch the Barenaked Ladies, and I had thought it a pretty decent venue, but it felt lackluster when compared to the carefully calculated acoustics of Davies Symphony Hall. I felt sorry for the violinists, who were woefully under-miked. The music itself was pleasant and well-played, but I could never get the "background music" concept out of my head, and the fact that scenes from the video games were being projected on three giant screens didn't help. Afterwards we went to Korea House (in Japantown) for a late dinner. Mmm...

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