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!

 American Bach Soloists What Sweeter Music  Sweetness and Light From American Bach
November 23, 2010

To celebrate the season, American Bach Soloists has remastered the American Bach Choir’s lovely 2002 Christmas CD, What Sweeter Music. The sweet purity of the female voices, the lovely clarity of the acoustic, and a careful selection whose tunes emphasize celebration over all else are self-recommending.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 New Century Chamber Orchestra  Parade of Fantastic Fiddling
November 20, 2010

In the second season the New Century Chamber Orchestra continues to move forward with imaginative programs. Their recent round of concerts was in many ways a testament to the adaptability of great music in the hands of imaginative musicians.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Oakland Symphony  Triumph and Travail at OEBS
November 20, 2010

In an ambitious, godsend of a program from Michael Morgan’s Oakland East Bay Symphony, not even the great Santana and Narada Michael Walden could transcend the acoustics of the historic Paramount Theatre.

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Recital REVIEW
 Cal Performances  Bryn Terfel’s Master Class of Music and Drama
November 20, 2010

It’s probably a good thing that Bryn Terfel stopped singing at the end of his recital Saturday night at Zellerbach Hall. Had he kept going, the audience would still be there, cheering for more.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Peninsula Symphony  Heavenly Preholiday Fare From the Peninsula
November 19, 2010

The Peninsula Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Symphonic Chorus can reliably be depended on to present an engaging holiday concert. This year’s was particularly interdisciplinary, offering instrumental works that had no explicit connection to the season but that proved to be cheerfully appropriate nonetheless.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Heavenly Elza van den Heever
November 17, 2010

It’s always a pleasure to watch a singer make her way from aspiring talent to full-fledged artist — and to witness her finding her comfort zone in a vast sea of repertoire. This week’s S.F. Symphony program, featuring soprano Elza van den Heever as soloist was a beguiling case in point.

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  <em>Passing</em> By Passing By: Jake Heggie Enters the Heart
November 16, 2010

A very special recording from Jake Heggie features works that address love and loss with beauty and care, assembling one of the finest collections of American singers ever to grace a contemporary song collection.

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Chamber Music REVIEW
 Del Sol String Quartet  Amped-Up Colors of the Del Sol
November 13, 2010

The Del Sol Quartet performs an often mesmerizing always amplified program of new works that ends on an electrifying note.

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 West Edge Opera  (Formerly) Berkeley's First-Rate <em>Xerxes</em>
November 13, 2010

With a first-rate cast, world class conductor, and superb period instrument orchestra, the El Cerrito–based company reinvented as Berkeley West Edge Opera has taken another major step forward into the future with Xerxes.

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 San Francisco Opera  Butterfly's Fits and Starts
November 11, 2010

When a veteran soprano, lauded for her lyrico-spinto portrayals, takes over as Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at San Francisco Opera, hopes are high for a late-season triumph.

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