The San Francisco Symphony is a model of complexity: tonally warm but texturally clear; rhythmically on edge but never abrasive in character; beautifully blended throughout.
Michael Tilson Thomas
This San Francisco Symphony release proves to be a fitting send-off for music director Michael Tilson Thomas; there’s much to admire in the Seattle Symphony’s playing of Carl Nielsen’s first two symphonies; fiery energy from both violinist Arabella Steinbacher and the excellent Münchener Kammerorchester make their new disk a gem.
Michael Tilson Thomas delivers a towering Ives Fourth; pianist Conrad Tao’s American Rage is hard-edged and defiant, but also poignant and stirring; Gianandrea Noseda’s Shostakovich Fourth is ferocious.
While the orchestra’s program was almost defiantly canonical, it was played with such lightness and energy that you could forgive its disappointing safeness.
Handel & Haydn Society’s Haydn and Mozart is about as good as it gets; Martyn Brabbins’ recording of A Sea Symphony is one of the year’s best releases; and for elegance and technical command, you can’t go wrong with Tilson Thomas and his San Francisco Symphony.
Aspects of America, from the Oregon Symphony and its music director Carlos Kalmar, is at once superbly played, astutely programmed, and aesthetically necessary.
The San Francisco Symphony delivers performances of chamber-like sensitivity and remarkable transparency.
Michael Tilson Thomas proves he’s got Alban Berg’s style in his blood; Pablo Heras-Casado’s Mendelssohn symphony cycle continues to be stylish.
Beethoven’s Mass in C is the highlight. Would that the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of the Third Concerto had more electricity.
It’s fun to recall what’s been played locally since January and be reminded just how rich the greater Boston area’s classical music scene really is.