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!


Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
   L.A. Phil’s Dudamel Applies Winning Formula to Tchaikovsky
May 11, 2010

Gustavo Dudamel brings a cheering crowd to their feet with a predictable, but audience-effective rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique symphony, while Jean-Yves Thibaudet entertains with Leonard Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 Santa Rosa Symphony  Sins, Swans, and Dons in Santa Rosa
May 10, 2010

Patrons returning for the second half of Monday night’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert witnessed the unusual sight of five microphones: one to the left of the conductor’s podium, and four to the right. These peculiar forces and accoutrements had been assembled by Music Director Bruno Ferrandis for Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins.

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Chamber Music REVIEW
 Old First Concerts  ChamberBridge Showcases Rewarding Partnership
May 9, 2010

ChamberBridge’s Sunday recital at Old First Church in San Francisco was a model of compositional and interpretive invention, with the San Francisco–based duo of soprano Lara Bruckmann and pianist Eva-Maria Zimmermann providing vivid performances of newly commissioned work by a mix of American and Swiss composers.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 New Century Chamber Orchestra  NCCO’s Shining New <em>Romanza</em>
May 8, 2010

Anyone who might have arrived very late for Saturday’s splendid New Century Chamber Orchestra concert at Herbst Theatre would have gotten an amusing summary from fiddler Evan Price.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 San Francisco Symphony  Breathless Brahms From the San Francisco Symphony
May 5, 2010

From almost the moment that guest conductor Christoph Eschenbach struck up Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 with the San Francisco Symphony last Wednesday, it was clear that this was going to be a Brahms of the bright colors. It was set against a lovely recent French work by Marc-André Dalbavie.

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CD REVIEW
  Stephen Hough and the Minnesota Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos Tchaikovsky Treasure Trove, and Then Some
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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Chamber Music REVIEW
 San Francisco Performances Skride/Vogler Trio The Odd Trio
May 4, 2010

It would not be impossible to construct a program of three piano trios more taxing than the one the Skride/Vogler Trio played last Tuesday at Herbst Theatre. It might, though, be difficult to find anyone willing to play it.

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Early Music/Baroque REVIEW
 Avedis Chamber Music Series  Going Baroque, Once and Twice Removed
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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Choral REVIEW
 California Bach Society  Cal Bach’s Engaging <em>St. John Passion</em>
May 2, 2010

Bach’s great Passion According to Saint John was given eloquent voice by the California Bach Society Sunday afternoon at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley. The Passion — the story of the end of Jesus’ life — is operatic, in the sense of combining narrative and commentary.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra REVIEW
 St. Peter's Chamber Orchestra  St. Peter’s Chamber Orchestra Doubles Your Pleasure
May 1, 2010

The St. Peter’s Chamber Orchestra finished off its first season on Saturday, at its namesake church in Redwood City, by highlighting four of its own players as soloists in two rare double concertos, and matching those with two brief standards of the orchestral repertory.

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