Lee Rosen, President of the Monterey Symphony, came out on stage at Sunset Center last night to introduce the Monterey Symphony’s third concert of its 2016-2017 season. We learned that the traditional Friday-evening concert in Salinas had to be cancelled because of the widespread power outage during the severe storm system traveling through the Monterey Peninsula. As a result ticket holders of the cancelled Salinas concert were invited to come to hear the Saturday evening performance, and many did. Mr. Rosen also shared with us some information about the evening’s soloist, Russian born, Sergej Krylov, who in the space of a few weeks is appearing as soloist with orchestras on three continents. Fortunately for us, one of these appearances was his debut performance with the Monterey Symphony, directed by Max Bragado-Darman.
We don’t hear the Sibelius Violin Concerto as often as we would like. Sibelius (b. 1865), like Mahler (b. 1860) and Rachmaninoff (b. 1873), had the misfortune to live long enough to observe their works fall out of fashion during the early twentieth century. Composers of new music moved in a new direction that was hostile, dismissive and neglectful of music that seemed to them post romantic and old fashioned. The new “Modern Music” embraced a bewildering variety of experimental genres: atonality, serial techniques, twelve-tone systems, neo-primititivisn, neo-dadaism, Sprechstimme, aleatory, Musique concrète and a whole bunch of other experiments, all intended to sound new and novel, but often resulting in a sense of sameness. It is indeed ironic that the symphonic works by Sibelius, Mahler and Rachmaninoff have survived the death knell of mid-twentieth century music critics and are alive and well today
And thus it was a special pleasure to hear such an impassioned extroverted performance by Mr. Krylov. There was a striking boldness in his playing. He made the most difficult passages seem easy (without seeming glib), and his rich vibrant tone found the drama and passion necessary to plumb the depths of this great concerto. An impressive command of dynamics from powerful double stops to the most ghostly harmonics were quite effective in his performance last night. Since the audience responded with great enthusiasm to his playing, we wouldn’t be surprised to find him returning in future Monterey Symphony seasons.
The concert began with a solid rendering of Beethoven’s Corriolan Overture, Op. 62, in keeping with the Monterey Symphony’s current season with the theme “Shakespeare in Music” and ended with a dramatic performance of Brahms Symphony No. 3. Our Monterey Symphony musicians have much to be proud of, and Maestro Max was generous last night in acknowledging orchestra soloists and principal players after the Beethoven and Brahms performances.
This concert will be broadcast at a later date on a local radio station.