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!


Archive Review
February 12, 2008

An encouragingly large and enthusiastic audience turned out Monday evening in Herbst Theatre for a serious, handsomely chosen program of new chamber music presented by the expanded Earplay ensemble. Mary Chun conducted most of the program's "Unorthodox Journey" evening, whose featured soloists were soprano Ji Young Yang, violist Ellen Ruth Rose, and clarinetist Peter Josheff.

More »
Archive Review
February 12, 2008

There's concert programming as science, programming as art — and programming as pure, primal indulgence. I'm as fond of cleverly constructed, balanced, everything-relates-subtly-to-everything-else program design as the next girl, but the idea of hearing all the Brahms piano trios in an evening affects me at a gut level the way the prospect of a hot fudge sundae for supper affects the average 8-year-old. What can I say, except "Thank you, San Francisco Performances"?

More »
Archive Review
February 12, 2008

In an increasingly crowded field of Bay Area choral ensembles, certain groups have devised creative methods of garnering attention. The three-year-old San Francisco Renaissance Voices, still a new kid on the block, takes the novel step of re-creating historical performance environments for its concerts.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players performed its first concert of 2008 on Monday. Some last-minute changes to the program affected its theme, as the “Strongbox of American Music” was pried open to accommodate British and French composers who live in the U.S. But judging from the response, the audience didn’t mind the breach of security.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

The next time I hear someone bewailing the moribund state of classical music, I'll point them to the Herbst Theatre, where last Saturday morning (a dreary day) a couple hundred music lovers paid to hear a couple of string quartets and an hour of explanation about them.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

Grateful though we must be for the continual flow of new, exciting young ensembles to Bay Area concert halls, it's another and possibly greater pleasure when the most impressive of them drop in a second time. The Belcea Quartet, whose first visit here was two years ago, made a most welcome repeat appearance Thursday night.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

Virgil Thomson isn't the composer who pops automatically to mind when you think of dance, but he was a major presence at San Francisco Ballet over the weekend.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger and British percussionist Colin Currie offered a virtuosic and highly polished performance last Tuesday at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. All the challenging compositions on the program, from a wide range of contemporary European composers, were technically proficient and effective, and made expert use of the colors that the trumpet offers, as well as a great variety of percussion sounds.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

Schubert’s song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin may be the richest treatment of a simple story in all music. Young man loves the miller's daughter, she prefers a hunter, young man drowns himself in the brook — and that's all there is.

More »
Archive Review
February 5, 2008

In a Bay Area music scene crammed full of resolute, relentless eclectics, the Del Sol Quartet stands out less for packing bewilderingly various elements into its programs than for doing it with such ease and stylishness. The Del Sols' grand mélange of a recital Tuesday night, courtesy of Berkeley Chamber Performances, reprised its Old First Concerts program of a couple months back.

More »

Pages