Christian Hertzog, U-T San Diego, 9th June 2019

“The orchestra was precise, responsive to Francis’ conducting, with an effortless beauty of tone.

The concert began with a spirited performance of Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks.” It’s always a treat to hear orchestral music by Handel that is not “The Messiah.” Francis and the musicians captured the regal pomp and joyful celebration of Handel’s score.

Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral Music” received a somber — but never dull — performance, anchored by the basset horn of Josh Ranz and the contrabassoon of Samantha Duckworth.

Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony has always struck me as a stodgy piece (second movement excepted), but Francis and his musicians made a persuasive case for it being a joyful, celebratory work.”