Review: Jahja Ling’s farewell concert as San Diego Symphony music director

Posted on: June 2, 2017

“Farewells can be tearful, but Jahja Ling’s last program with the San Diego Symphony as music director was anything but,” writes Christian Hertzog in Saturday’s (5/27) San Diego Union-Tribune. Joined by pianist Yefim Bronfman, Friday’s concert—which repeats today and Sunday …was a joyful affair. On paper, there’s little remarkable about a program of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 … But the way it was prepared and served as extraordinary, and behind it all was Ling. That noble horn solo that opened the Brahms concert? Benjamin Jaber, a Ling hire, played it flawlessly. The tight, full-bodied playing of the string section? Inconceivable in 2002, before Ling shaped them into the disciplined, responsive team they are today.… He hired most of the brass players, and under his coaching, that section is now cohesive and controlled. Their contributions to Sibelius’ symphony were invaluable … The symphony ends on a chord progression (G-D-G) that occurs so often at the end of church hymns that musicians call it an ‘amen cadence.’ Is there a more fitting way to mark the close of Ling’s directorship, in which he hired over half the players onstage and built them into a responsive ensemble that can play the hell out of Sibelius’ Second Symphony?”

Posted June 2, 2017