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!


Recital Review
February 26, 2011

The Paris Guitar Duo, in its first San Francisco outing, performed wide-ranging music with brilliance, but with odd mannerisms.

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Opera Review
February 26, 2011

Philip Glass’ Orphée earns high marks as a 20th-century alternative to Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. It just deserves a better production than the blunt, charmless staging mounted by the Ensemble Parallèle at Herbst Theatre over the weekend.

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Choral Review
February 26, 2011

It would have been hard to tell, observing the small, graying audience in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco on Saturday, that videos of the early-music band Voices of Music had received, as of this writing, 3,558,070 hits on YouTube. I suspect a good deal of those came from Web queries for the famous Pachelbel Canon, of which VOM has posted an excellent recording.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 25, 2011

The Vienna Philharmonic began its Berkeley residency Friday with a concert that showed off its versatility. The three composers, all from within Vienna’s cultural orbit, were aesthetically different from each other: high Classicism from Franz Schubert, wallowing Romanticism from Richard Wagner, and violent modernism from Béla Bartók.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 25, 2011

Three interpreters at Oakland East Bay Symphony's concert on Friday transformed composers’ dreams into art worthy of both praise and concern.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 24, 2011

What sacred music do you set alongside Mozart’s great Requiem in a concert? The San Francisco Symphony movingly squared the circle Thursday with works by Morton Feldman and Mindaugas Urbaitis.

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CD Review
February 22, 2011

It’s pleasing for a great orchestra to record the standard repertoire; but it’s more exciting, from an audience perspective, for it to record something you’ve not had the opportunity to hear before. The San Francisco Symphony’s recent release is not only an artistic triumph but emblematic of priorities rightly ordered.

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Opera Review
February 20, 2011

It's astonishing for a veteran of too many Turandot performances to keep count of, to find one of the best in Palo Alto, but the tiny West Bay Opera once again conquered a musical Goliath.

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Recital Review
February 20, 2011

Rafal Blechacz is among the select few who evidently were chosen to carry Frédéric Chopin’s torch to an international audience. His recital Saturday at Herbst Theatre blazed brightly.

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Chamber Music Review
February 16, 2011

“The Electric Voice,” Stanford Lively Arts' program of new works for electronics and voice, featuring bass Nicholas Isherwood, reinforced the contradictions and arrogance often associated with the field of highbrow electronic music.

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