David Bratman is a librarian who lives with his lawfully wedded soprano and a wall full of symphony recordings.
Articles by this Author
Saturday’s Music at the Mission chamber music concert, at Old Mission San Jose in Fremont, bore the title “Music in the Time of Turmoil: From Conflict to Redemption.” It featured a quartet for the end of time, and another quartet from after the end of time. It was a solid, meaty chamber music concert: not heavy or overlong, just full of provocative 20th-century compositions related to war or inspired by it.
There wasn’t any doubt which piece on their San Francisco Performances program that the King’s Singers had really come to Herbst Theatre to perform on Wednesday. It was the premiere of Tres mitos de mi tierra (Three myths of my land), by Berkeley-native composer Gabriela Lena Frank.
Music-lovers in the South Bay had their calendars marked. The Takács Quartet came to San José’s Le Petit Trianon on Saturday, as part of the concert series of the San José Chamber Music Society. It was, I believe, the first time this distinguished ensemble had performed down here in eight years, since before violist Geraldine Walther joined the group.
The San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas paid a mammoth tribute to two American composers, Charles Ives and Henry Brant, last week. Friday’s performance of A Concord Symphony, music by Ives as orchestrated by Brant, was a landmark in local performances of 20th-century music.
Sunday was string quartet night at the San José Chamber Orchestra’s concert, conducted by Barbara Day Turner, at Le Petit Trianon in its namesake city. The Cypress String Quartet played as guest soloists in the premiere of Pablo Furman’s Paso del Fuego, and the SJCO ceded the entire stage to the Cypress foursome for the first half of the concert, which consisted of Beethoven’s Quartet in F, Op. 135.
But before we get to the Beethoven, let me tell you about the premieres: two of them.
Stanford Symphonic Chorus
Tired of the usual run of jolly Christmas choral music? A nearly full house on Friday in Stanford’s spacious Memorial Church welcomed in their holiday season with a Requiem. And not just any Requiem. What the Stanford Symphonic Chorus and Peninsula Symphony Orchestra had gathered to perform under the baton of Stephen M. Sano, the Chorus’ director, was a new performing edition of the Missa pro defunctis by Antonín (alias Anton, alias Antoine) Reicha.
Some ensembles offering contemporary choral music specialize in the extreme “listener-friendly” end of the spectrum. Not so the San Francisco chamber chorus called Volti, which is interested in something more challenging, both to perform and to listen to. Sunday in Palo Alto’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church, a small, round, concrete bunker of modernist architecture that was extra dark (the fluorescent lights were off, because they buzz), Volti performed a well-rounded program of small, dark, concretely modern works of music.
Nearly 20 years after his death, the name of Leonard Bernstein still carries magic among musicians and audiences, enough to ensure a full house Saturday at Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium for “A Portrait of Leonard Bernstein.”
Cadenza is a well-known term in classical music, and now it’s also the name of a local orchestra. The 14-member string ensemble formerly known as the Santa Cruz Chamber Orchestra has changed its name in hopes of establishing a more distinctive moniker, and gave its first concert Saturday under the new name at Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz.
The Mid-Peninsula is home to a number of dedicated amateur orchestras. Some local patrons felt there was, nevertheless, room for a chamber orchestra made up of local professionals — and now there is one. The St. Peter’s Chamber Orchestra, named for its hall, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Redwood City, gave its first concert Saturday. Artistic Director Paul Schrage conducted the performance. On the program were two classical period symphonies: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op.