Hey, November sneaked up on me! I had a vague idea that it was coming, but then my flatmate and I talked ourselves into cleaning up the flat and repainting the interior walls along with the porch Saturday morning.
By the time we got done afternoon had came and gone and it was time to freshen up and skip downtown for the San Diego Symphony's 2nd of three performances of Mozart's Requiem.
The program was rather unspooky for a Halloween night and kicked off with the famous prelude to Act III of Wagner's Lohengrin... sadly without running on into the even more famous Bridal Chorus (I mean, since they've already got a great chorus in the house that could really rock that thing, you know!).
I'm afraid we didn't get very good seats for it and the bad acoustic (toward the extreme left of the auditorium in the Main level) skewed the performance for me a bit. I thought the opening number got bogged down a bit once Elsa's theme kicked in. The brass section was having quite a good night, though... I bet they sounded quite splendid up in the middle balcony. In the imbalanced acoustic of where I was they got a bit muffled by the bass and strings section.
The second number was Max Bruch's D-minor violin concerto featuring Jeff Thayer, the SDSO's concertmaster... I'm afraid he was rather overpowered by the orchestra (which really couldn't have been playing more sensitively). Don't know if that was an intentional interpretative effect, but I found the lack of dynamic variation in the violin solo rather dulling on the Romantic music. He got all the notes down at good speed, to be sure, but there was no accentuating the line and practically no story told (that I could discern... but then a lot of that may be due to the bad acoustic of my part of the auditorium).
A lot of folks left us at the intermission and never came back, which was really too bad because the San Diego Master Chorale showed up and really rocked the second half of the evening in the Mozart Requiem.
I have to say that Maestro Ling's tempo for the Requiem was so consistently speedy that even the more solemn movements of the mass failed to spook me. One would expect that the quick pace would work well in the more furious movements like the Dies irae or the Confutatis, but the auditorium didn't catch fire during those either since there just wasn't enough contrast with the rest of the show (speed is no substitute for intensity... especially when you've got only one gear).
But the chorus was absolutely fantastic! They sang this thing like they meant every word of it. Great piano singing when called on, and delightfully lively in the fugue sections.
Also, I had no idea who they were before I walked into Copley Hall this weekend, but I'm mightily impressed with the tenor and mezzo soloists for the evening: Thomas Cooley and Sasha Cooke. Their beautiful voices were superbly used to convey the departing souls they were depicting in Mozart's final composition and I can only hope to catch them in more substantive roles in real operas one of these days. Jessica Rivera (soprano) and Jason Grant (bass-baritone) also sang well after a shaky start.
The ovation was warm indeed... But then it seems that in this town you really have to fall off the horse and bleed all over the stage (after having first flooded the orchestra pit and splattered all the coats in the first 3 rows of audience) to NOT get a standing ovation at the end of a show.