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!
The male and female voices of the Sanford Dole Ensemble chorus, 24 strong, had already made a distinct impression in a Palm Sunday concert at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church. Over a groundswell of somber strings in the first section of James MacMillan’s 1993 Seven Last Words From the Cross, the men burst forth with an urgent “Rex Israel.”More about Sanford Dole Ensemble »
As someone coming from that neck of the woods, I will walk the plank with this about Eastern Europe: Notwithstanding the many splendid composers of the region, it has not done well as a source of great operas.More about Pocket Opera »
Modern listeners can find 14th-century secular music tough to grasp. Working within highly restrictive formal structures, this era’s composers and poets created elaborate ruminations on wide-ranging themes — love, loss, justice, virtue — in a sound world quite distinct from earlier chant or later imitative polyphony.More »
(Washington, D.C.) — Lately, here in the nation’s capital, we’ve being seeing much of a certain leader from San Francisco. She’s usually pictured at a podium, ominously wielding a piece of carved wood, aiming for radical change, and threatening to whack anyone who doesn’t stay in step.More about San Francisco Symphony »
On a clear spring night that tempted concertgoers to linger outside Davies Symphony Hall until the last moment on Monday, the musical weather that followed inside was prevailingly murky.More about San Francisco Symphony »
Ian Bostridge is a master singer of German lieder, and he brought Schubert’s Winterreise to UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall Sunday afternoon, splendidly partnered by pianist Julius Drake. Experiencing Schubert’s intimate, searing song cycle would be more satisfying in the intimacy of Hertz Hall, where we last heard Bostridge. But, being smaller, Hertz holds fewer people, so what is Cal Performances to do?More about Cal Performances »
Did the Santa Rosa Symphony on Saturday night live up to part of a public-school student poem, by “Cristobal,” posted in its concert-hall lobby?
Sounds frightful, amazing, destructive.
Beethoven, great composer —
Music as powerful as the sun.
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.More about San Francisco Bach Choir »
From the hauntingly tentative first notes, or rather the first words of a poem prefacing the Brahms Requiem sung Saturday by the powerful but always beautifully balanced and expressive Cantare Chorale led by Artistic Director David Morales, I knew I was about to have a unique experience.More about Cantare Con Vivo »