Written by Meikee Magnetic
All seats were filled at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday, September 22, where lovers of Stravinsky crossed both Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. You can literally say the audience, crossed oceans to attend and listen to some of the renegade composers most memorable works and some of which has had the ability to unify the World. I myself came all the way from a romantic day of wine tasting in Napa, what better way to pre-game the senses and reboot the audio soul. The musical program consisted of classic Stravinsky pieces, “Persephone” (48 minutes) and “The Firebird” (45 minutes). Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky who was born June 17th, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia rose to fame in 1910 Paris with his 20th Century score The Firebird. To witness this masterpiece in person was really something to behold as Conductor extraordinaire Michael Tilson Thomas channeled the legend in an eloquent manner. What better person to conduct than MTT, who 1st saw Stravinsky conduct at 11 years old and later had the opportunity to actually make music with the classical icon. Michael was accustomed to hearing Stravinsky singing his own music in rehearsal, demonstrating every nuance and swing it should have. This personal relationship shaped his distinctive approach and performance.
In addition to the night was the true Hollywood icon, beauty, actress, and dancer Leslie Caron who had the role as narrator. Born in Boulogue-sur-Seine to a French father and American mother she went on to perform with the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. The audience was enchanted by an orchestra of flutes, chorus’s, piccolos, oboes, English horns, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, tuba, timpani, xylophone, bass drums, harps, piano, and strings. Tenor Nicolas Phan who performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies added an angelic quality, which captured the attention of all eyes. His voice acted as a sharp instrument dissecting in and out with ease and precision. The Pacific Boy choir, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus added a richness and sophistication to the ears of the audience as well as elevating the power of the compositions. The SF Symphony managed to reach every emotion from high to low and took us all in directions of grandeur. The sea of applause resonated throughout the hall perfectly on every cue yet it was the last applause that sealed in this wonderful memory I’ll always keep. For a night I was taken on a journey back in time into the mind of an artist, back when imagination ruled like a king on his throne. As we walked up and out the hall, we walked in unity with a united feeling that only Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky could project and by the echoes of chatter in the air, clearly we were not alone in our magical thoughts…
For more info on the SF Symphony go to: www.sfsymphony.org