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 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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CD Review
February 15, 2011

Hélène Grimaud’s new solo disc Resonances comprises the recital program she has been touring this past season. It is a welcome change to find a pianist willing to risk the juxtaposition of Mozart and Berg.

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Recital Review
February 13, 2011

Something magical happened during Dmitri Hvorostovsky's recital at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday. Twice.

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Opera Review
February 12, 2011

The Barber of Seville is such a beguiling opera, it’s not hard to see why some mistake it for an easy one. But producers approaching Rossini’s bel canto masterpiece do so at their peril.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 12, 2011

Rhythmic vitality ruled Saturday at the Redwood Symphony concert, led by guest conductor Joyce Johnson-Hamilton, in a program designed to warm the hearts of music lovers who prefer the just slightly unusual.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 12, 2011

How many performances of the “Jupiter” Symphony does it take to turn on a light bulb above the head of attentive listeners? In the case of the Santa Rosa Symphony, it only takes one.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 12, 2011

In a performance by a trimmed-down San Francisco Symphony on Saturday, it was hard not to get caught up in the invigorating presence of conductor Ton Koopman, who coaxed phrases out of his performers like a magician pulling handkerchiefs out of a hat.

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CD Review
February 8, 2011

Classical musicians don’t ordinarily record “albums” now; they record works. But Musica Pacifica’s Dancing in the Isles is an album.

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CD Review
February 8, 2011

Lyric tenor and composer Roland Hayes (1887-1977) may be the most important “Aframerican” (his term) classical singer of the 20th century that you don’t know about.

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