Sunday, June 28, 2015

Resurrection in Sacramento


The Sacramento Philharmonic revival began last night with Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony Resurrection.  The entire season will use guest conductors, and at this first concert we had Andrew Grams, who will work also the concert October 17, 2016.

The concert began with a piece called Concerto Grosso by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  A concerto grosso usually is a piece with a group of soloists who alternate with a larger group of players.  I saw no hint of that in this performance.  The piece is all strings with a section for amateurs who play only open strings.  It didn't rise above pleasant.

But we weren't here for that.  We wanted Mahler 2, and we got it.  This was a dynamic, exciting performance of the piece which established Mahler as a composer.  We were close to the timpani and got the full effect. 

A new thing for me happened when a cellist broke a string.  The whole concert paused after the first movement so he could replace it.  My favorite part, of course, is the Urlicht in the 4th movement, here sung beautifully by Kelly O'Connor.  The reception was loud and enthusiastic. 

The revived Sacramento Philharmonic was said to be working from a balanced budget.  This plus the return to standard repertoire is all very welcome.

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