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
November 5, 2010

In the hands of Philharmonia Baroque, expert interpreters and a seasoned period-instrument orchestra, it becomes apparent why 18th-century audiences were hungry for orchestral repertoire by the bucket load.

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Chamber Music Review
November 5, 2010

When Melody of China and Asian Improv Arts teamed up for “Shanghai Stories,” a concert of jazz and Chinese classical and folk music, exoticism brought a lacquered newness to familiar pleasures.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 3, 2010

You have probably heard Carl Orff's Carmina Burana before. If you're like me, you've heard it many times. Even so, I have never heard it the way the S.F. Symphony played it on Wednesday.

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CD Review
November 2, 2010

This disc is a revelation. A revelation as much to initiates who think they know the beautiful, often ethereal choral music of Eric Whitacre, as to the millions who know him only from the YouTube Virtual Choir video of “Lux Aurumque,” and as to those who have yet to make his acquaintance.

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Chamber Music Review
October 30, 2010

At 20th-anniversary concerts of Musica Pacifica offered performers who reach far beyond merely creating beautiful sounds: They truly create music by infusing the composers’ notes with energy and passion, and with the elusive-but-essential breath of life.

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Opera Review
October 30, 2010

Henry Purcell never wrote an opera titled The Witch of Endor, so the question arose as to what, exactly, Urban Opera would be performing over Halloween weekend. The answer turned out to be something equal in musical brilliance and theatrical flair to the company’s inaugural production.

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Chamber Music Review
October 30, 2010

What music do you expect to hear at a Halloween concert? The Santa Cruz Chamber Players lack the forces necessary for warhorses, so in their concert at Christ Lutheran they were forced to be creative. It made for a festive holiday occasion.

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Chamber Music Review
October 29, 2010

Besides impeccable musicianship, Kronos offers up socially aware compositions.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 24, 2010

This symphony orchestra is so old, Franz Schubert is one of the first violinists. So what can be learned from experiencing the first visit from the Dresden Staatskapelle in Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday, an ensemble rated as one of the top five in Europe, with a 462-year-old pedigree, and it lays before you a Schuman-Beethoven-Brahms program right from their sweet spot in musical history?

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Chamber Music Review
October 24, 2010

String quartet concerts customarily feature the old masters, or the medium-old masters, and apologetically stick small quantities of modern music in the corners of the program. At Sunday night’s concert at the Kohl Mansion in Burlingame, though, the opposite plan — feature the contemporary works, and stick the old masters in the corner — was enacted by the Lark Quartet.

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