The rain would not stop and the air was thick with winter's mercurial chill. Last Friday evening I made my way to Davies Hall for the San Francisco Symphony. I took my seat. A breath of orchestra air filled my lungs; only then was I able to relax. The music began. Wicked and wild, the mellifluous sound filled the room with a contagious sense of nostalgia. I wanted to hold something in my arms and my eyes wanted to close and dream of waves crashing with each chaotic whirl of strings. This....was Mozart. I imagined: what if I locked myself in a room with absolutely no distractions? I could write wickedly erotic, rampageous odes of love on instruments that I would make with my own two hands simply out of the sheer survival of my immaculate creativity - and nothing else! Mozart had the keys and Mozart had visions. Visions that led him to write perfectly well rounded, prodigious compositions. Two of the pieces performed, Piano Concertos Nos. 5 and 8, were written by Mozart when he was only between the age of 18 and 20 years old. Mozart's Symphony No. 25 opened the program and commenced with Symphony No. 33. To fully perform these pieces, let alone understand them, one must have a mind that borders on both insanity and genius, and at the same time desperately longs for both romance and solitude. David Geilsammer, who took center stage at the grand piano for the solo performance of Piano Concerto Nos. 5 and 8, embodies this longing perfectly. The moment Geilsammer walked onto the stage it was as if the air around him changed colors - behind him was left a trail of golden dust, the kind that intoxicates. Probably not something anyone else was seeing in the Symphony Hall, but surely something everyone felt. Geilsammer was like a delicate fawn who's fingers violently but ever so gracefully played each note as if his life depended on it. Because this, of course....is Mozart.
Catch Friday and Saturday night's performance at The San Francisco Symphony: Mozart's famed, apocalyptic Requiem; conducted by the illustrious Michael Tilson Thomas www.sfsymphony.org
Text by Adarsha Benjamin