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!


Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
December 8, 2010

Vision and a certain sense of rightness made for an exceptional evening at last Wednesday’s San Francisco Symphony subscription concert: Three masters, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, guest violinist Gil Shaham, and principal trumpet Mark Inouye, provided hole-in-one performances.

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CD Review
December 7, 2010

The nine men of Clerestory have taken a daring step. For their first “studio-recorded” CD, laid down in the sanctuary of Berkeley’s Unitarian Universalist Church, they perform music inspired by the three closely aligned celebrations of Halloween, All Soul’s Day, and El día de los muertos.

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Recital Review
December 4, 2010

The stage at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus is large enough to fit a full orchestra. But on Saturday night, one man stood alone on the stage with his violin, dressed in black, lit by a spotlight against a solid dark backdrop. No piano accompaniment or even a music stand — the solitary Christian Tetzlaff, playing the complete Sonatas and Partitas.

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Choral Review
December 4, 2010

Advent has begun; Christmas is coming. And choruses are singing the Messiah. Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s performance was a triumph and the chorus and orchestra sang and played as one instrument.

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Chamber Music Review
December 3, 2010

Excitement was high on Friday when the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts presented the San Francisco recital debut of Meng Su and Yameng Wang at the Green Room.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
December 2, 2010

Supercharged love ... That’s what Music Director Joana Carneiro programmed in two works for the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. But it was the sultry presence, superb expressiveness, and fine singing of mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway that really heated up the sea of love to bubbly.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
December 2, 2010

In a S.F. Symphony performance of John Adams' El Niño, conducted by the composer, revealed itself to be an oratorio for the turn of the new century in a concert of warm Christmas music that was, rightfully, warmly received.

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Opera Review
December 1, 2010

At one of the finest Adler Showcases in recent memory, Sheri Greenawald and Mark Morash had the wisdom to frame each vocal set with powerhouse performances. In doing so, they set the tone for "The Future Is Now," letting their singers proclaim loud and clear that the Adler opera apprentice program is one of the world’s best.

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CD Review
November 30, 2010

A new CD from the New Century Chamber Orchestra is designed around Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, and bracketed with Barber, Mahler, and live recordings. Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and her orchestra have every right to be proud of it.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 26, 2010

Johannes Brahms and Alban Berg, great Viennese masters, make a good pairing, and San Francisco Symphony brought them together for its Thanksgiving week concerts. The well-thought-out and well-executed program never quite caught fire.

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