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 Music Review
October 10, 2010

On Sunday, the Czech Nonet opened the Morrison Artists Series’ 55th season, curated by a new artistic director, composer Ronald Caltabiano. It was heartening to see a large audience (including many students) turn out for Sunday’s well-balanced, relevant, and brilliantly executed program.

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Chamber Music Review
October 9, 2010

Never have I understood the term “Papa Haydn” more clearly than I did at the Takács Quartet concert Saturday at Herbst Theatre, presented by San Francisco Performances. To open a string quartet concert with Haydn is standard procedure, but the Takács brought a distinct connection to Haydn.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 7, 2010

The San Francisco Symphony has been placing its musicians in the solo spotlight this fall, and the results have been good enough to make you wonder if we couldn’t do without high-priced imports more often.

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CD Review
October 5, 2010

The city of Utrecht, Netherlands, is gearing up for a huge celebration in 2013 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. The city and province of Utrecht is investing in a party that will rival the pan-European celebrations that followed the actual Treaty’s signing. One of the first anticipatory fruits of all this excitement is the Netherlands Bach Society’s recording of music written by Handel and William Croft.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 3, 2010

Sunday night’s concert by the Shanghai Quartet at Le Petit Trianon in San José opened the 25th season of the San José Chamber Music Society. It also served as the Society’s contribution to Shanghai Celebration 2010, a Bay Area–wide, yearlong festival commemorating San Francisco’s sister-city relationship with the Chinese city.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 2, 2010

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have a long history of successful and seemingly idiomatic performances of French music, and thus Saturday’s program, advertised as “French Classics,” looked both appealing and promising.

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Dance Review
October 1, 2010

Last week marked the first return of the Mark Morris Dance Group to UC Berkeley since Robert Cole’s retirement and Matías Tarnopolsky’s start as director of Cal Performances; Friday at Zellerbach Hall, it was good to see that not much has changed. The choreographer best known for illuminating complex scores and the dancers known for making virtuosity out of unaffected humanity were both doing just that — yet, in unexpected ways, Morris may have raised the bar.

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CD Review
September 30, 2010

It's not just his face and body that are hot. Vittorio Grigolo is the real thing, an Italian tenor with a beautiful voice, ringing high C,  and genuine feel for the music. This is the recital we've been waiting for.

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CD Review
September 28, 2010

Immeasurable Light, the new CD from Chinese pipa master Wu Man, virtually wallops you over the head with its first track, Jacob Garchik’s arrangement of The Round Sun and Crescent Moon in the Sky. Part of the repertoire of the Zhang Family Band, it is as raucous as it is joyous.

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Chamber Music Review
September 27, 2010

Does the personality of a composer matter? Will knowing more about the life of a composer enhance our experience of his or her music? “You bet!” is Other Minds’ answer, as judged from its Sept. 27 combo of exhibit, discussion, and performance that brought the remarkable Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985) back to life.

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