Reviews Archive


Archive REVIEW
   Innovation Isn't Enough
December 18, 2007

During a discussion session that followed the Berkeley Akademie’s inaugural concert on Wednesday, musicologist Joseph Kerman reflected that many of today’s performing ensembles are seeking innovative ways of presenting classical music. Kerman’s remarks encapsulated the impetus behind the Akademie, a spin-off of the Berkeley Symphony, under the artistic direction of Kent Nagano and Stuart Canin.

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Archive REVIEW
   Doing Well What Comes Naturally
December 18, 2007

If noble titles were given as rewards for excellence, the FOG Trio would be royalty. While "FOG" also indicates the trio's connections with San Francisco, the name is formed by the players' last names: F is for violinist Jorja Fleezanis (former San Francisco Symphony associate concertmaster), O is for world traveler/San Francisco resident pianist Garrick Ohlsson, G is for San Francisco Symphony principal cellist Michael Grebanier.

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Archive REVIEW
   Ferocious Lyricism
December 18, 2007

Brahms chamber music seems to be breaking out unnervingly in threes this season. First it was the three string quartets on a single program (the Emerson Quartet, in October). Coming up in February are the three piano trios (Nicholas Angelich and the brothers Capuçon, courtesy of San Francisco Performances).

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Archive REVIEW
   The Passion of the Guitar
December 18, 2007

Guitarists Alexis Muzurakis and Susana Prieto, the Duo Melis, have a stellar reputation in Europe and are beginning to extend their reach into North America.

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Archive REVIEW
   Celebrating the Mystery
December 18, 2007

'Tis the season to be singing, and Schola Cantorum has made its contribution to this year's choral celebrations in performances presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society and ably directed by Paul Flight. Saturday's concert at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley was especially welcome to lovers of the motet O Magnum Mysterium, by Tomás Luis de Victoria, who used musical material from it in his Missa O Magnum Mysterium .
In a brilliant stroke of programming, Victoria's mass was interspersed with other Renaissance music.

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Archive REVIEW
   Beethoven Plus Four
December 18, 2007

Splitting his program right down the middle, pianist William Wellborn devoted the first half of his Sunday afternoon recital in Old First Church to 18th-century masters and the second to 19th-century composers. In place of the all-Beethoven program that had been announced, Wellborn programmed his pieces to display contrasts. It made for some intriguing comparisons.
The program opened with a set of six of Domenico Scarlatti's Sonatas: K. 238 and 239 in F minor, K. 9 in D minor, and a recently authenticated G major without a Kirkpatrick number, plus K. 208 and 209 in A major.

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Archive REVIEW
   Fast Ride on a Lean Quartet Machine
December 18, 2007

Tonal balance and homogeneity of sound, rather than sharply etched lines, seem to be the hallmark of the best of the current string quartets. The estimable Jupiter String Quartet provided three casebook examples of this in its concert last Monday at the Napa Opera House.

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Archive REVIEW
   Singing Into the Light
December 18, 2007

How to program something novel for the holidays is a challenge almost every choral conductor faces at year's end. Fortunately, there always seems to be an endless supply of untapped or little-heard repertory from which to draw and innumerable ways to combine music from a diverse cross section of centuries or cultures into a satisfying whole.

Sacred & Profane

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Archive REVIEW
   Intimate Christmas Splendor
December 11, 2007

Of the great Christian holidays, Christmas affords composers perhaps the greatest range between grandeur and simplicity. At one end, the whole of Creation rejoices; at the other, a tiny infant in a hovel is the linchpin of all things.

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Archive REVIEW
   Sing It Like a Man
December 11, 2007

How many singers have chosen to center their Bay Area recitals around Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe (Poet's love)? Last year, baritones Gerald Finley, Daniel Cilli, and Thomas Hampson, as well as tenor Rolando Villazón, gave this defining cycle of 16 songs a shot.

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