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Heuwell Tircuit

Heuwell Tircuit is a composer, performer, and writer who was chief writer for Gramophone Japan and for 21 years a music reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He wrote previously for Chicago American and the Asahi Evening News.

Articles by this Author

Youth Ensembles/Student Performances Review
May 16, 2010

Performance standards were of their usual high order Sunday afternoon as Donato Cabrera conducted a concert of the San Francisco Symphony’s Youth Orchestra at Davies Symphony Hall. Even so, there were problems, notably with the programming, as well as with Cabrera’s concept of a classic warhorse.

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CD Review
May 4, 2010

The 50th of Hyperion’s cycles devoted to Romantic piano concertos features a generous heap of Tchaikovsky by pianist Stephen Hough, partnered by Osmo Vänskä and his Minnesota Orchestra. It’s quite an undertaking, with terrific sonics, though made during live performances.

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Early Music/Baroque Review
May 2, 2010

Only six members of the 11 musicians who make up the Avedis ensemble played Sunday afternoon’s program at the Florence Gould Theater. The program, by the Stanford Woodwind Quintet and pianist Paul Hersh, was devoted largely to Baroque music, most of it in transcriptions.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
April 19, 2010

Conductor Christoph Eschenbach took over Davies Symphony Hall last Monday evening for a wildly successful concert of his Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, aided and abetted by pianist Lang Lang.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
April 23, 2010

On paper, last week’s San Francisco Symphony programs looked like meat and potatoes repertory, but Friday evening’s performance in Davies Symphony Hall turned out to be more like servings of Salzburger Nockerl with a well-made Kir Royale to wash it down.

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CD Review
April 20, 2010

I’d been hearing rumors about the American clarinetist Jon Manasse for years, but at this, my first hearing, his new Harmonia Mundi release containing two concertos confirmed all those rumors. He’s a paragon of musicality.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
April 1, 2010

Two up-and-coming talents, the Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski and Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko, took over last week’s San Francisco Symphony subscription concerts, and in the process sounded like major stars of the future.

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Choral Review
March 20, 2010

For its 74th season, Director Corey Jamason and the San Francisco Bach Choir and Baroque Orchestra programmed five highly unusual Bach compositions for their Sunday program in Calvary Presbyterian Church. The sizable audience ate it all up with gusto.

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CD Review
March 23, 2010

Two major young stars of the music world, pianist Simon Trpčeski and conductor Vasily Petrenko, have begun a new CD cycle of all of Sergei Rachmaninov’s piano-orchestral works, for Avie Records.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
March 7, 2010

Last week was a big week for Maurice Ravel’s music at Davies Symphony Hall. Hard on the heels of the four San Francisco Symphony subscription concerts that included Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Sunday evening saw a large, all-Ravel program by the visiting Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under its conductor, Myung-Whun Chung. Yet in a way, the most memorable part of all this was Sunday’s glorious vocalism by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter.

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Feature Article
March 2, 2010

The yin and yang of musical fashions and fads shift every 20 or 25 years, and always have done. In the 1950s, concert music fledged itself from new music in traditional tonal style and notation toward an increasing respect for serial music, and in the process up popped Elliot Carter, John Cage, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, and the like. In that process, perfectly respectable and popular composers got pretty much shoved out of the nest. Performances of the major American composers of the early 20th century have radically dwindled, with the exceptions of Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 12, 2010

There was nothing of English pastoralism on Friday’s all-British program by the San Francisco Symphony, under guest conductor Charles Dutoit. The two 20th-century works offered a nearly tactile brilliance all evening long, aided and abetted by the orchestra’s concertmaster, Alexander Barantschik, and, in the closing minutes, by the wordless, offstage women of the S.F. Symphony Chorus.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
January 21, 2010

Thursday’s program of the San Francisco Symphony, under Michael Tilson Thomas, offered something new in my concert experience. Noting that the two works on the first half of the program were rather glum, MTT said he wanted to open with something lighter. So he turned around and conducted what amounted to an encore: the sarcastic Polka from Shostakovich’s 1930 ballet The Age of Gold, Op. 22.

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CD Review
January 5, 2010

Piano fans will find much of interest from the new two-piano release of Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire, drawn from live performance at last summer’s Salzburg Festival. Their programming consists of two staples, Brahms’ Haydn Variations, Op. 56b, and Schubert’s Rondo in A Major, D. 951, plus two uncommon transcriptions: Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, and Ravel’s La Valse (Deutsche Grammophon 477 8570).

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 15, 2009

The normally high standards of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra were only dimly in evidence Sunday afternoon in Davies Symphony Hall. Their recently appointed new conductor, Donato Cabrera, seemed only partly in control of himself, as well as the orchestra, through one modern standard and two major classics.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
November 8, 2009

Leaving Davies Symphony Hall Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the San Francisco Symphony’s all-Sergei Rachmaninov program, I was wondering if I’d put on weight merely by listening to it. Guest conductor Semyon Bychkov led only two large works, with everything but the kitchen pantry thrown in.

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Choral Review
October 23, 2009

Apparently, no one has informed the San Francisco Girls Chorus that what they are doing is impossible, so they just do it — and very well, too. On Friday night their “Transcendent Voices” performance in Calvary Presbyterian Church — part of the ensemble’s 30th anniversary season — was a jaw dropper that made the heart soar in delight.

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CD Review
October 20, 2009

This new release of piano trios by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov features three virtuoso musicians delivering gushy music gushily. In a way, this likely was the way this music was played in its own day, minus emotive restraint. This can almost be considered to be a recording as a historical study, free of the sometimes exaggerated objectivity of contemporary performances.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
October 7, 2009

Applause broke out at unexpected times Wednesday evening in Davies Symphony Hall as guest conductor David Robertson wowed the San Francisco Symphony audience. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he had virtuoso pianist Yefim Bronfman as his soloist for a terrific program.

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Kids & Families Feature
October 6, 2009

All kinds of instrumental combinations occur in classical music, though chamber music is by far the most diverse, in terms of instrumentation and variety. If you’ve shunned this area, you’re missing out on much of the world’s greatest music, since many composers have poured their finest concepts into chamber music, especially the string quartet.

It’s the purity of chamber music that attracts composers. 

The small size of the ensemble (often only three or four players), the intimacy of the music-making, means you can hear every element clearly, which is not always true of

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