[:en]Author Archive[:fr]Archive Par Auteur

12
Mar

Berkeley Symphony Premieres Samuel Carl Adams’ Violin Concerto

cal-performances-berkeley-logoThe Berkeley Symphony’s concert on Thursday, February 6 in UC Berekely’s Zellerbach Hall featured the world premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’ Violin Concerto, alongside Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite and Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony. The program fit together well, and with the works complemented each other. By the time conductor Joana Carneiro took the stage to give her welcome message, the hall was full enough it gave the impression of a sold-out show. Even if the concert wasn’t officially sold out, it is always wonderful to see a full house at a new music concert!

BSO, Anthony Marwood - Photo by Dave Weiland

BSO, Anthony Marwood – Photo by Dave Weiland

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14
Feb

San Francisco Symphony’s Beethoven and Bates Festival

san-francisco-symphony-logo

On Saturday January 18, 2014, Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the San Francisco Symphony in their second concert in a series of two programs of music by Oakland-based composer Mason Bates paired with music by Ludwig van Beethoven. This series is part of the symphony’s ongoing efforts to create a balance between tradition and innovation in the ways we experience classical music. The pairing of both familiar and rarely heard works by Beethoven with a recent Bates work for orchestra showcased the symphony’s dedication to mixing the old with the new. It also places new American music alongside that of Beethoven’s time-honored genius, lending the performance of contemporary works as part of the standard repertoire ever more acceptance.

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, soloists, and chorus perform Beethoven's Mass in C (photo credit: Kristen Loken)

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, soloists, and chorus perform Beethoven’s Mass in C (photo credit: Kristen Loken)

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19
Jul

Mark Adamo’s Uncertain “Gospel of Mary Magdalene” in San Francisco

The San Francisco Opera’s world premiere production of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel Of Mary Magdalene, which I saw on Saturday June 22, 2013, is the source of inspiration for a wave of ancillary events around the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 60 or so years since the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels, the role of Mary Magdalene in both history and christian liturgy has been at the center of great controversy. Mark Adamo is one of two major American composers who have been inspired to write an opera on the subject. The other—John Adams—had his opera (The Gospel According to the Other Mary) premiered in concert version by the Los Angeles Philharmonic last month (the production will be fully staged next season).

"The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene" by Alexander Ivanov (oil on canvas, c. 1835, Russian Museum St. Petersburg)

“The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene” by Alexander Ivanov (oil on canvas, c. 1835, Russian Museum St. Petersburg)

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12
Apr

Distinctive Sounds at Sixth Annual Switchboard Music Festival

Switchboard Music FestivalCharacteristically distinctive sounds rang out throughout the day during the sixth annual Switchboard Music Festival in San Francisco on Sunday, March 24, 2013. This was the third year in a row the festival has been held at the Brava Theater in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. The Brava is easily accessible by public transportation or car (although parking can be a nightmare), and makes a great venue for the festival. I hope they are able to continue using the space for many more years to come. Just like last year’s festival, Switchboard incorporated elements of local culture into their show, including a food truck parked right out front selling Indian food. Unfortunately, the food didn’t agree with some of the audience as well as last year’s truck did, I heard several festival attendees complaining of indigestion as the night wore on. Thankfully, the music suffered no ill effects.

Composer, accordionist, and multi-instrumentalist Rob Reich (photo credit: robreich.com)

Composer, accordionist, and multi-instrumentalist Rob Reich (photo credit: robreich.com)

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30
Mar

San Francisco Symphony Plays Peer Gynt

This belated review covers an event prior to the negotiations breakdown that happened in San Francisco. We are happy to hear that—as of March 29—the negotiations have resumed, and we hope that a fair solution for both parties will be found to ensure the future of this wonderful musical institution.
-Thomas Deneuville, Ed.

SF-symphony-logo-250wI was initially somewhat nervous about the San Francisco Symphony’s semi-staged production of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt in January (well before contract negotiations between SFS musicians and management broke down, resulting in the current strike). The three-day run of performances, January 17-19, 2013 in Davies Symphony Hall, featured a compendium of music: Edvard Grieg’s familiar incidental music intermixed with more contemporary works by Alfred Schnittke and Robin Holloway. The staging incorporated acting, singing, video projection, and dance. With that many things going on, the number of chances that something could go wrong was enormous. By the time we got to intermission however, I was hooked. For the most part, everything fit together really well. The acting was convincing (even though there was an accident with a costume that resulted in a shirtless Peer at one point), the music fit together quite well, and the video projection was just interesting enough without overpowering what was going on on stage.

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (photo credit: michaeltilsonthomas.com)

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (photo credit: michaeltilsonthomas.com)

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7
Feb

Henryk Gorecki’s Concerto-Cantata on Naxos

Most musicians and audience members alike know Henryk Mikolaj Górecki (1933-2010) primarily for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which was composed in 1976. That work didn’t gain Gorecki’s current international attention until the 1992 release of the Nonesuch recording, performed by the London Sinfonietta with Dawn Upshaw as soloist. My experience with Gorecki’s music prior to listening to Naxos’ release of Concerto-Cantata included that recording of the Third Symphony, and also his third string quartet …Songs are Sung, written in 1995 for the Kronos Quartet and dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.

Henryk Górecki

Henryk Górecki

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