A well-executed symphony performance is the perfect exemplar of the potential of human endeavor. A good performance can make you smile, a great performance can make you forget your mortality. Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, led a program of 20th-century works that suspended time.
The program arced from the rising warm winds of Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” to the joyful and muscling lilt of Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F major,” where Yuja Wang drove her slight frame into the Steinway. Next came the grandeur of Jean Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2 in D Major” and, after a triple ovation, an encore of Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 1.” Finally, Thomas gestured to the orchestra’s need to drink, sleep, and possibly pull a few slot-machine handles, lifting us from our trance. ★★★★★
Photos by Glenn Brogan