While I've been writing about my trip to Indiana and the Tolkien conference therein, I've also been attending concerts.
1. San Francisco Symphony, Davies, Wednesday.
This was a good one. MTT made Brahms's First Symphony sound light and fleeting, and if he can do that to that block of indominable granite, he can do anything. Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, with Yuja the Unavoidable, was soft and pillowy. A new piece by Sam Adams, son of John, sounded pretty good too. I'm only sorry I was still feeling too ill to fully appreciate the experience.
2. Aeolus Quartet, Campbell, Thursday
Stanford noon concert, so I didn't know what I'd get until I arrived. Berg's Op. 3, oh well. Then, Sibelius' Op. 56, played as if Berg also had written it. Dry, rattly, academic up the wazoo.
3. Sarah Chang (violin), Oshman, Monday
One weird violinist. Soapy, moaning lower range; warbly middle. While playing, wears a facial expression almost kabuki in the intensity of its tragic expression. Also wears ill-fitting dresses. Played the Vitali Chaconne, without much bite. The violin edition of the Prokofiev flute sonata, not much bite there either. And some bastard's arrangement of bits from West Side Story that mucked up every ballad in the show.
4. Chamber music showcase, Campbell, Tuesday
More Stanford nooning. Student groups, one of which gave off a superbly tough first movement of the Shostakovich Second Quartet, with enough real bite to send Sarah Chang packing.