Acclaimed overseas, symphony is back home

Reimporting exported goods — which originally were imported from France — Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony are presenting French classics that made a big impression on their recent European tour.

In Lucerne and Milan last week, the orchestra’s performances of music by Berlioz and Ravel brought this response from a reviewer in Milan’s “Corriere della Sera”:

“Back after a gap of 23 years, this great Californian outfit, under Michael Tilson Thomas, captivated a full house at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi with French repertoire. With the gestures of a natural charmer, despite his short jacket, Tilson Thomas demonstrated how his stealthy, charming lioness of an orchestra can lose itself in that hazy, billowing world, matching tone for tone, more on a sensory than a structural level.”

Soon, in Davies Hall, patrons can witness MTT’s charm and short jacket, and hear the charming lioness (“una leonessa piena di charme”) of our globetrotting hometown band.

The program stays in the French romantic domain, but the pieces are different.

They include Ravel’s ever-popular, occasionally overplayed “Rapsodie espagnole,” Debussy’s “First Rapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra” (featuring the orchestra’s leonine clarinetist, Carey Bell), Debussy’s “Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra” (with Jean-­Frédéric Neuburger), and then a “Romeo and Juliet” switcheroo.

For too many years, Davies has been home to umpteen repetitions of excerpts from the Prokofiev ballet score for “R&J.”

But the upcoming concerts will showcase the rarely played, utterly ravishing music from Berlioz’s “symphonie dramatique,” “Roméo et Juliette.” The scheduled excerpts are “Introduction,” “Love Scene” and “Romeo Alone — Festivity at the Capulets.”

Bell, acclaimed principal clarinet of the symphony, also is a member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and a soloist with orchestras and chamber ensembles. Previously, he held principal positions with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

Neuburger (pronounced Nu-bour-jhay) studied at the Académie Maurice Ravel and the Paris Conservatoire, where he received highest honors in piano, accompaniment and chamber music. A professor at the school, he also tours Europe and the U.S. making solo appearances.

A free audio podcast about the Berlioz piece may be downloaded from www.sfsymphony.org and the iTunes store.
Portions of these concerts will be broadcast on Classical 102.1 KDFC-FM at 8 p.m. Oct. 12.

IF YOU GO

S.F. Symphony

Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 29, Oct. 2; 2 p.m. Oct. 3
Tickets: $15 to $140
Contact: (415) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org

artsentertainmentNEPOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Music producer Phil Spector looks up during his murder trial in Superior Court July 10, 2007 in Los Angeles. (Gabriel Bouys-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)
Phil Spector, visionary music producer convicted in notorious murder, dies at 81

Phil Spector, the visionary record producer who revolutionized pop music in the… Continue reading

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

In recognition of recent news surrounding Donald Trump, here are two peach drinks: Frozy Navel, left, and Peach Gin Fizz. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Impeached twice? Try these two peach cocktails

Mix these up and toast in hopes of more laughs, lighter times in 2021

Most Read