San Diego Symphony, led by the brilliant David Danzmayr, thrills with Sibelius and John Williams
If any argument is needed for the preservation and support of the symphony orchestra — and I don’t think it needs defending, in spite of the expense and effort in keeping it alive and healthy — Saturday evening’s San Diego Symphony performance embodied its essential place in our lives: an hour and a half of thrilling, spine-tingling — and artistically impeccable — music-making. The program — under guest conductor David Danzmayr’s awe-inspiring leadership — juxtaposed past and present Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia” and his Symphony No. 1 […]
Danzmayr not only knows how this music goes, he knows what it means. Just as important, he knows how it feels. He shows us this knowledge before a note of music sounds: his feet are planted solidly on the earth, there will be no podium dancing here. His spine is straight except when he bends low as if to summon musical phrases out of the earth, his baton is the visible end of a huge lariat that encircles the orchestra in a magic circle of focus, one in which the players are freed to play with such plangent personal expression that Danzmayr often stopped conducting to listen. He is extraordinary, and we cannot see and hear him too often. Comparisons are odious, but I cannot help it: not since I discovered the conducting of Carlos Kleiber have I encountered an artist who combines such deep penetration and controlled but visceral excitement.