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Blomstedt conducts the San Francisco Symphony in Tchaikovsky and Sibelius 

The soloist Yundi was an up and coming star in the piano world until Lang Lang came along and stole the limelight. So it was a delight to get a chance to listen to Yundi play Tchaikovsky piano concerto no 1. The opening movement had a certain briskness to it. Yundi's long phrases were punctuated by percussive interjections from the brass section of the orchestra. Apart from a few slips, this movement was well played. The second movement had an unsteady start - with Yundi pushing for a brisker tempo than what the orchestra was prepared to give - so the first few phrases rocked a little. But everyone was soon back in "concert". The last movement was probably the best - the orchestra kept pace with the soloist. The fiendishly difficult cadenza gave Yundi the opportunity to show off his virtuosity - fingers flying cross the keyboard.

The second half of the concert was Sibelius second symphony. This gave me the real opportunity to hear the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at its home the Davies Symphony Hall. The brass section was fabulous - they had this wonderful sonorous sound that was warm yet punchy. The strings were pretty good too - a very tight section. Blomstedt took the work at a brisk pace and maintained momentum throughout. While there was little wallowing in the big moments, I felt there wasn't quite enough introspection and passion. It was too 'cool' for my liking. Would love to have the opportunity to hear the band under MTM - one day.


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