Love Children

I went to visit my friend Steven the other day and had the ineffable pleasure of watching his six-year-old son climb him like a tree in a joyous display of mutual affection. I just love watching modern fathers play with their sons, showing affection in ways that were vanishingly rare in my generation.

And then Steven showed me some affection by giving me a heads up on a concert where he’d be playing last night, a Silicon Valley Music Festival program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music featuring Son à Trois , a trio consisting of flute, cello, and piano. Piano trios are my favorite musical form, and a program composed entirely of them is not to be missed, particularly since i was familiar with only one of them, the Mendelssohn Op. 49.

I’m embarrassed to admit that i’d not seen the Conservatory’s new facility at 50 Oak Street, a run down YMCA that has been gutted and repurposed with an achingly beautiful interior surrounding a four-story atrium, gorgeous recital halls, and all. This is the most handsome music venue in the city, worth visiting just to see.

The first piece on the program was the Poulenc Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, Op.43, with a flute substituting for the Oboe and Steven on the Bassoon. Loved it, at least partly for the novelty of the instrumentation. I’d heard the Mendelssohn only in the original version with a violin, but the flute worked very well in its stead, and i was reminded of how much i like Mendelssohn’s trios. The Debussy Piano Trio in G minor was next, and i liked it almost as much as the Mendelssohn.

And then, if there had been any way to slither out unnoticed, i would have. I’m old, i tire easily, and i especially tire listening to classical music written by composers younger than myself. Like, for example, Paul Schoenfield, of whom i’d never heard. But i was trapped, so i heaved a great silent sigh and prepared myself for a learning experience during his Café Music.

Oh my goodness. The three movements were like frolicking love children of Gershwin and Shostakovich, and the piece was delightful. Here’s a YouTube clip of the first movement. Watch the grins of delight appear on the faces of the orchestra members in the background.

What a fabulous evening. Thank you, Steven. And here’s a Christmas Day pic from a walk along Santa Rosa Creek with Gloria.

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