Friday, April 12, 2013

Ode for St Cecilia's Day Fills Davies Hall

(Nicholas Phan and Cyndia Sieden, with the SF Symphony and Chorus behind them. Credit: Michael Strickland, SF Civic Center.)

The sour notes of the recent battle between the musicians and management of the San Francisco Symphony came to an end two-weeks ago, allowing beautiful music to again fill Davies Hall.

Last weekend, Mike and I attended a concert conducted by Bernard Labadie with Mozart's Symphony No. 39 and Handel's Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day, which was the debut of that composition by the symphony.

The less said about the Mozart piece, the better. A mediocre piece lacking display of Mozart's great gifts, we were happy when it ended. Fine playing by the orchestra was the saving grace.

Handel's Ode was a pure delight from start to finish. Not only was this its first SF Symphony performance, it was our first time hearing it sung live. I'm not sure we'll be able to listen to the CD of it anymore because it will sound so bland compared to the extraordinary artistry of the musicians and singers.

Nicholas Phan strong tenor voice during his solos pleased the ear. The soprano solos were capably delivered by Cyndia Sieden. Both voices blended very well with the chorus. The symphony poured gusto into the boisterous sections and thrilled us with beautiful sounds that transported us back to the 1700s.

Welcome back, San Francisco Symphony, and thanks for the great interpretation of Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day.

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