Review: Payare’s season-opening San Diego Symphony program of Mahler and Bates

Posted on: October 8, 2019

“A long-awaited moment at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall finally arrived on Saturday evening: Rafael Payare conducted the San Diego Symphony in a bold program of Mason Bates and Gustav Mahler in his first concert as the symphony’s new music director,” writes Christian Hertzog in Sunday’s (10/6) San Diego Union Tribune. “From Payare’s concert downbeat, which triggered a phrase that ended with the loud ratcheting of a vintage automobile crankshaft, to the giddy close of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, a whirlwind acceleration to an impossibly fast tempo that tested the players’ virtuosity, the San Diego Symphony elevated itself to a new plateau…. Over the years, there have been more technically secure performances of Mahler’s Fifth by the San Diego Symphony, but I never heard one as exciting as Saturday evening’s. The program opened with the local premiere of ‘Alternative Energy’ by Mason Bates … given a precise and spunky rendition by Payare and the musicians…. The audience—which had many more young people and Hispanics than I’ve seen recently—was captivated throughout the concert, applauding and yelling between movements. We could use a lot more enthusiasm at symphony concerts, and Payare delivered that Saturday evening.”

Posted October 8, 2019