Classical Music Reviews

Every week, our professional critics attend concerts throughout the Bay Area to let you know what went well...and occasionally what didn't. Let their insights enrich your musical experiences, and feel free to share your own views!


CD Review
January 11, 2011

It’s not often that we get to hear such a large body of new music, developed over a long time, by one composer and played by a single ensemble. No one could listen to Lisa Bielawa's two-CD set and not marvel.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
January 9, 2011

The San José Chamber Orchestra celebrated Johann Sebastian Bach on Sunday and the evening began with a bang.

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Chamber Music Review
January 8, 2011

The New Esterházy Quartet's performance — the third iteration of the ensemble’s “Dedicated to Haydn” series — demonstrated camaraderie, marked above all by exceptional unity of purpose and total commitment to the group's interpretive schemes.

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Choral Review
January 8, 2011

Escaping from “lake-effect” snow and winter, the venerable Cornell Glee Club brought a warm mixture of Romantic-inflected music to its Bay Area concerts.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
January 8, 2011

I rarely feel surprised by programming at a concert. Normally, by looking at the repertoire and the performers, I have a good idea of the type of event I’m in for because I go in ready and prepared. So I was eager to hear some of the three-night San Francisco Tape Music Festival at Fort Mason last weekend, with its surround-sound system supporting 16 loudspeakers.

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CD Review
January 4, 2011

What better way to usher in a new year than to have fun with that funmost of instruments, the clarinet? Those who love William Bolcom’s Graceful Ghost reinvention of ragtime will take instantly to the first four cuts of this new Harmonia Mundi release.

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CD Review
January 4, 2011

Magdalena Kožená has proven her mettle in music of the high Baroque, and in her 2010 CD, Lettere Amorose, she adds to her recorded repertory Italian love songs by the 17th-century composers, bringing a natural flair and easy virtuosity to the works, and a beautiful and distinctive sound.

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CD Review
December 28, 2010

If this album garners the Grammy it’s been nominated for, it will not only properly reward Matt Haimovitz and his self-described big band of cellos, it will also help legitimize the concept of the award category “Classical Crossover.” Either way, it leaves us cheering for that Grammy — and for more quality crossover.

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CD Review
December 28, 2010

Composer Rodolphe Kreutzer — pretty much off the public’s radar, but very much on the violin student’s — is brought to life in a fantastic CD by Axel Strauss thanks to his incredible nimbleness in both hands and one utterly lovely cantabile.

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CD Review
December 21, 2010

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic deliver a reading of Tchaikovsky's beloved score that is — wonder of wonders — fresh and deeply felt.

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