Tonight I went to see Kurt Masur conduct Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony at Davies Hall. I’ve heard this symphony several times (I realized this while hearing it tonight), but never paid much attention to it. However, tonight was an awakening of sorts. The SF Symphony was in top form, extremely tight, and the effect was one of the best performances (we say performances, not shows, when we go to the symphony, don’t ya know) I’ve seen at Davies Hall.

First of all, Tchaikovskys 5th is a wonderful and complex piece. From sweeping string movements to french horn solos to frenetic crescendos, this is a composition that will rock you. It rocked the blue hair crowd. The mosh pit was out of my league.

And add to that, the already exceptional SF Symphony took to this stuff like a cat to a mouse. They attacked it, missed nothing, and with visiting conductor Kurt Masur at the healm, seemed near perfect. It was really something.

The opening piece, by a Russian (Tatarian?) composer named Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina called Offertorium, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra was an oddly interesting composition. I’ve never heard sounds like that coming from an orchestra, and there were wonderful melodies and striking highs to the music. Overall, very interesting. The piece was originally written for the soloist, Gidon Kremer, who performed with the SF Symphony tonight. It was the first time the piece was performed by the SF Symphony. Nice work!

As highbrow as attending the symphony is perceived to be, I really enjoy the SF Symphony. The crowd is always interesting, the music always great, and the musicians are always the first out the door — I marvel at how they can pack up their instruments, change clothes and be out the door before the crowd. I always see them making their way home with instrument in tow as I work my way over to Hayes Valley for a nightcap. Tonight was the first time I needed to resist the urge to shake their hands and say “Nice Work!” Not because I haven’t felt that way before, but just because I felt like they really nailed it tonight, and on such a wonderful piece of music.