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!

  Matthias Goerne & Ingo Metzmacher: Schubert <em>Heliopolis</em> Vocal Artistry Tailor-Made for Schubert
April 27, 2010

Baritone Matthias Goerne, one of the few truly great lieder singers of our age, has now released four volumes of Harmonia Mundi’s ongoing Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition.

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Modern Classical REVIEW
 San Francisco Contemporary Music Players  Free Play by the S.F. Contemporary Music Players
April 26, 2010

On Monday night, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players used French Composer Philippe Hurel’s words — "his own space of freedom" — for the theme of a program featuring four pieces that variously relate to the idea of finding free space.

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Recital REVIEW
   Emmanuel Ax Mounts the Battlements With Two Giants
April 25, 2010

As every classical music lover knows by now, this is a big anniversary year for Chopin and Schumann. Still, somehow we are never quite prepared to fully comprehend their vast achievements as composers for the piano. Emanuel Ax’s recital at Davies Symphony Hall Sunday showed how difficult it is to reconcile these two giants of the Romantic period.

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 Magnificat  Magnificat’s Marvelous <em>Magnificat</em>
April 24, 2010

Claudio Monteverdi, already famous as a composer of secular music in the late 16th century, published a Mass and a vesper service in 1610. On Sunday afternoon, in Grace Cathedral, Magnificat celebrated the 400th anniversary of that event.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Redwood Symphony  Rustling Among the Redwoods
April 24, 2010

Eric Kujawsky, music director of the Redwood Symphony, likes sometimes to lead his volunteer musicians into the thorny thickets of Eastern European modernism. This time, on Saturday at the Cañada College Theatre in Redwood City, nobody got seriously lost.

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Recital REVIEW
 Chamber Music San Francisco  Simone Dinnerstein’s Eclectic Variations
April 24, 2010

Ranging from Bach to Copland to Webern, pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s April 24 recital at Herbst Theatre looked at first glance like a model of eclecticism. In fact, it was a tightly and cannily structured program, with variations as the organizing principle.

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 Opera San José  New Vision of <em>La Rondine</em> From Opera San José
April 24, 2010

Are opera lovers reevaluating La Rondine? Puccini’s 1917 lyric comedy has always been dismissed as something of a trifle, a one-hit wonder with a single great soprano aria.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Joy Joins Bravura at the San Francisco Symphony
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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  Manasse, Spohr: Clarinet Concertos Jon Manasse’s Remarkable Wind Playing
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
   Schleswig-Holstein’s Amazing Young Players
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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