Thursday, May 18, 2017
In the final concert of the season, the Santa Barbara Symphony honored Paris with a variety of compositions and symphonic poems inspired by the City of Lights. The orchestra first performed Mozart’s famous Symphony No. 31 in D Major (or simply “Paris”), a romantic piece with movements of vibrancy and swiftness and a slow second movement that perfectly encapsulates the visuals of the city. The second piece, Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 featured cellist Zuill Bailey and his theatrical playing style, bringing to life the rapid-fire orchestration as he commanded great attention from the audience, even during the composition’s softer aspects.
The concert’s second half included Franz Liszt’s symphonic poem Les préludes, full of audible excitement, and preceded the highlight of the program, an enthralling rendition of Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Featuring car horns and evoking classic visuals of Paris, the orchestration was approached as a true classical composition rather than a pops piece, a testament to Maestro Nir Kabaretti’s artistic vision. The Gershwin was an excellent finale to an accessible concert and an enjoyable way to draw the season to a close, with each section demonstrating profound mastery, leaving the audience in anticipation of the concerts to come.