San Fransisco Symphony

Music on a Grand Scale. By Nathan Durkin

This past Wednesday, I went to see San Fransisco Symphony perform at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. I was excited about this performance – I am personally drawn to that style of orchestral, symphonic music. There’s just so much going on at once, and it all culminates into something truly wonderful. Standing there after the show, applauding with the audience for minutes on end, it certainly did not disappoint.

With regards to the songs they played, the first piece, a memoir for an important sponsor of San Fransisco Symphony, written by the conductor himself, was certainly interesting. It had a very interesting vibe to it – the beginning and end were quite amazing, but what really stuck with me in that piece is how strange the middle sounded. It was designed to sound strange, to be amusing, but in particular the strange percussive choices during that piece just threw me off.

My ticket for San Fransisco Symphony.
Taken March 27, 2019 by Nathan Durkin.

As for the second piece, not much actually stuck with me. I feel as though if I had been more awake, it would have resonated with me more, but much of the piece was adiago (slower). I had just come from a long midterm, and a long night, and so I was extremely tired. I ended up trying to listen, because I remember the music being really good, particularly the highlighted violin soloist for it, but I sadly could not help but drift in and out of consciousness, meaning not much of it actually stuck with me.

The inside of my program for the show, ft. San Fransisco Symphony’s conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas.
Taken on March 27, 2019 by Nathan Durkin.

The final piece, Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, was, in my opinion, the best of the three. Yes, it is quite a long piece, but there was just so much to it, and the orchestra did such an excellent job of playing it. There was a sort of grandness to it, particularly as the brass played, that really stuck with me. The final movement of the piece really felt like a finale, a grand ending to a grand symphony. I can still hear the horns triumphantly blaring in my head. After that piece was over, the entire audience gave a standing ovation, of which I stayed for several minutes of. I had to leave to be somewhere after the show, and the applause was still going strong at the time of my departure. That amount of applause, the appreciation for the skill and dedication these talented musicians had, I think, was what stuck with me the most from this performance.

A view of the stage from my seat before the performance began.
Taken March 27, 2019 by Nathan Durkin.

A live symphony is not entirely aural, however. There is also a visual sense to the grandeur of the performance. The image above nicely captures the sheer sense of numbers, each person having to play their part perfectly, every single one of those chairs. It shows how much skill, how much dedication is in this one symphony. A massive amount of skill and dedication, years and years of practice, go into just one person sitting in one of those chairs. I myself was a trumpet player in early high school, so I was personally drawn the most to looking at the trumpet players. First of all, the instrument itself is the most gorgeous and perfect of them all to look at and listen to (my lack of bias showing my status as a true trumpet player). Second of all, it was fascinating to me as an amateur to see such a high level of skill come out so beautifully and perfectly from these players. That, however, could be said for the entire performance, which ended and left me with a feeling of awe that I will not soon forget.

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