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
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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CD Review
November 23, 2010

A new CD from the Turtle Island Quartet featuring eight songs by the late rock legend Jimi Hendrix may have some applauding the cross-over effort. Others are likely to come away less than satisfied, if not outright irritated.

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CD Review
November 23, 2010

To celebrate the season, American Bach Soloists has remastered the American Bach Choir’s lovely 2002 Christmas CD, What Sweeter Music. The sweet purity of the female voices, the lovely clarity of the acoustic, and a careful selection whose tunes emphasize celebration over all else are self-recommending.

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Recital Review
November 20, 2010

It’s probably a good thing that Bryn Terfel stopped singing at the end of his recital Saturday night at Zellerbach Hall. Had he kept going, the audience would still be there, cheering for more.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 20, 2010

In the second season the New Century Chamber Orchestra continues to move forward with imaginative programs. Their recent round of concerts was in many ways a testament to the adaptability of great music in the hands of imaginative musicians.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 20, 2010

In an ambitious, godsend of a program from Michael Morgan’s Oakland East Bay Symphony, not even the great Santana and Narada Michael Walden could transcend the acoustics of the historic Paramount Theatre.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 19, 2010

The Peninsula Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Symphonic Chorus can reliably be depended on to present an engaging holiday concert. This year’s was particularly interdisciplinary, offering instrumental works that had no explicit connection to the season but that proved to be cheerfully appropriate nonetheless.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 17, 2010

It’s always a pleasure to watch a singer make her way from aspiring talent to full-fledged artist — and to witness her finding her comfort zone in a vast sea of repertoire. This week’s S.F. Symphony program, featuring soprano Elza van den Heever as soloist was a beguiling case in point.

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CD Review
November 16, 2010

A very special recording from Jake Heggie features works that address love and loss with beauty and care, assembling one of the finest collections of American singers ever to grace a contemporary song collection.

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