Friday, September 23, 2016

Reich & MTT Launch Fall Music Season With Joy & Fun

The fall performing arts season for me got off to a terrific start the second weekend of September thanks to the San Francisco Symphony's fantastic salute to composer Steve Reich as he approaches his 80th birthday.

I had the pleasure of attending the concerts on September 9 and 11. The first evening included works by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin, both were quite entertaining, and two Reich pieces, "Double Sextet" and "Three Movements," the highlights of the evening.

The Eighth Blackbird ensemble and members of the symphony delighted my ears for the first Reich composition. "Three Movements" was a knockout, conducted with vigor and grace by Michael Tilson Thomas squeezing every fabulous Reichian note and sound from his players.

I left Davies Hall naturally high from the music. We just don't hear enough of this minimalist master's works played live in the Bay Area.

On September 11, it was a total Reich program and an audience ready with ecstasy for the musical ride. We heard sublime renditions of "Six Mirambas" and "Different Trains," and it was my first time experiencing "Electric Counterpoint" live and beautifully played by Derek Johnson on guitar.

MTT and Reich enjoyed themselves, as did the audience, performing "Clapping Music" and acted like two in-love young boys holding hands and sharing smiles, basking in the adulation.

The only letdown of the night, if you will, was that "Double Sextet" was on the program. Having heard it two days ago, I would have preferred it for the symphony and guests to treat us to a different Reich work.

Here's hoping the rest of my cultural calendar is as grand and fun as the wonderful times at the Reich concerts.

My friend Josh Bettenhausen snapped this photo of my pal Joey Cain looking at a picture on my camera, before the show began.

Alan Shaw, a buddy from our days together in ACT UP/New York, posed with me under this giant posted of MTT and City Hall lit up in red, white and blue in the background.

No comments: