April 15 - 16
Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst
The 100th anniversary season of the San Francisco Symphony brings many blessings, not least the visits of a number of world-class orchestras. The Cleveland Orchestra has been defended as the best of all by many, off and on throughout my lifetime, and it comes to town in April. Its music director, Franz Welser-Möst, will be conducting his orchestra here for the first time since 2005. (He has yet to guest conduct the San Francisco Symphony, despite his talent agency’s bio for him stating that he has conducted “all the major U.S. orchestras.”) This will provide an opportunity to see how his skills, formerly controversial, have matured over the interval. His reputation has grown considerably since he was appointed director of the Vienna State Opera in 2010.
The program will include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist; excerpts from Bedřich Smetana’s set of nationalistic symphonic poems, Ma Vlast; and the Overture, Waltz, and Finale from Thomas Adès’ highly satirical opera, Powder Her Face. There is plenty of drama in this program for Welser-Möst’s operatic experience to shine.
Jeff Dunn is a freelance critic with a B.A. in music and a Ph.D. in geologic education. A composer of piano and vocal music, he is a member of the National Association of Composers, USA, a former president of Composers, Inc., and has served on the Board of New Music Bay Area. A photomontage enthusiast, he illustrates his own reviews.