For the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) November will begin with a program consisting entirely of music by French composers, which will feature French performers. Yan Pascal Tortelier will return to the podium in Davies Symphony Hall as a familiar visitor. He made his debut as guest conductor in 1998 and has made regular appearances since then, with his most recent visit having taken place almost exactly two years ago. For this visit his concerto soloist will be pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, who made his SFS debut in October of 2012 with a performance of Béla Bartók’s third piano concerto that was meticulous in technique and deeply expressive in rhetoric.
For this visit Bavouzet will perform Maurice Ravel’s D major concerto for the left hand, composed for the concert pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm during the First World War. The “overture” for the program will be selections from the two suites of orchestral arrangements that Fritz Hoffmann compiled from Georges Bizet’s score for his opera Carmen. The concluding symphony, which will fill the second half of the program after the intermission, will be Camille Saint-Saëns’ Opus 78 (third) symphony in C minor. This is a four-movement symphony, but both the first two and the last two movements are played without interruption. It is known as the “Organ” symphony for the scoring of the organ during the introspective second half of the opening movement and the nothing-succeeds-like-excess finale. Saint-Saëns composed this symphony as a memorial piece for Franz Liszt, and nothing could have been more appropriate.
This program will receive three performances in Davies. They will all take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, Thursday, November 5, and Friday, November 6. Ticket prices range from $15 to $170. Tickets may be purchased through the event page for this concert on the SFS Web site. They may also be purchased at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street or by calling 415-864-6000. The Inside Music pre-concert talk will be given by James Keller one hour prior to each performance. This event is free to all ticket holders, and the doors open fifteen minutes before the lecture begins. In addition a free podcast by KDFC’s Rik Malone about Saint-Saëns’ symphony will be available for live streaming from the Program Note Podcasts Web page.
This program will also be given a Katharine Hanrahan Open Rehearsal. This will take place in Davies at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for coffee and complimentary donuts, followed by a half-hour talk at 9 a.m. Tickets are $30 for unreserved general admission and $40 for reserved seating in the Loge, Side Boxes, Rear Boxes, and Premiere Orchestra sections. This rehearsal has its own event page with its own hyperlink for the advance sale of tickets, which may also be purchased by phone or by visiting the Box Office.