Classical Music

Reviews and previews of classical music performances and players. For a list of upcoming classical performances, visit our events section.

Timpani and Prieto go gigante

San Diego Symphony tours Mexico, Argentina, and Spain

Never in my life did I expect to hear a timpani concerto, let alone two, and those two in back-to-back seasons. Opening weekend of 2014 included a timpani concerto by William Kraft, and this last ...

What would Hitler do?

Classical music is superior

Classical music is counterculture. I threw that out there in passing regarding the Alice Cooper narrated Peter and the Wolf. Let’s look at it for a little while more. It is always important to define ...

Lohengrin and the feminine redemption

Video of a classic performance and scene gets to the core of Wagner's philosophy of art

The time has come to baptize this little playlist. We’ve worked around the Germanic pantheon of composers with Beethoven, Mahler, and Bruckner but it’s time to bring the lumber and add Wagner. This scene, Lohengrin’s ...

Brisk is always better than lugubrious

Painting and music combined to mixed effect in the Symphony's partnership with the Museum of Art

Saturday night’s San Diego Symphony concert was an okay attempt at combining music and art. It was a pretty idea but the execution of the concert was pretty stale. I assume the pre-concert lecture got ...

Alice Cooper and the wolf, on the tablet

Counter-cultures collide in new take on the Russian classic

Any worthwhile lover of classical music knows that it has always been somewhat counter-culture in one way or another. Alice Cooper has been considered counter-culture from time to time, but he has passed through into ...

Who cares about beer week?

The week's big events are all about classical music

I understand that everyone is amped up for beer week but there’s some great music lined up this week as well. Point Loma Opera Theater is giving the San Diego premiere of Nino Rota’s The ...

Sarah Chang + Bruch = Barry White

The Symphony's concert with superstar violinist Sarah Chang was nothing short of sexy

Sarah Chang playing Bruch and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6: Pathetique was the moon and stars on Saturday night at Symphony Hall. There was a sunny piece of new music by Judd Greenstein, but as soon ...

Scorsese to take on Bernstein

Will commercialism sabotage the classical story?

A Martin Scorsese film about Leonard Bernstein has been confirmed as an upcoming project. Bernstein was the high priest of classical music in the United States and one of a handful of conductors who thrived ...

Jesus, don't fail me now!

The esoteric pick of the week is a light ditty about the pure blood of Jesus Christ

For the esoteric pick of the week we’re going with Gavin Bryars and his epic 1993 remastering of his 1975 composition Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. When I first heard Jesus' Blood it was ...

The Umbrage Files: "Diva" edition

Every now and then you've got to take umbrage with something

I haven’t taken umbrage with anything in a while. What good is a column without some umbrage? Today’s umbrage is brought to you by the term diva. Nowadays, we have three-year-olds wearing "diva in training" ...

Cold war politics are back in music

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev gets... sparklered?

Valery Gergiev, our conductor in video number three, has been accused, in the media, of being pro-Putin and for anti-gay laws in Russia. An article of defiance showed up in The Guardian at the start ...

Hardcore death talk

The dead don't get high, but they can dance and chit-chat

Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre is a somewhat sterile version of the “Dance of Death”. In this version death shows up at midnight on Halloween and calls all the other dead folk together for a party. There ...

Russian horror story

Halloween is coming and the goats are getting anxious

We’re going to revisit the Halloween classic: Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bald Mountain. For years, Mussorgsky had been considering several large scale projects based on spooky Russian folklore. He looked at creating an opera ...

Crush the boulder into a pile of rubble

Mythic performance from the Symphony highlights the beauty in repetition

“There is no longer a single idea explaining everything, but an infinite number of essences giving a meaning to an infinite number of objects. The world comes to a stop, but also lights up.” — ...

Who was Günter Wand and why should anyone care?

The curated video playlist gains a fourth entry and yes, it's finally Bruckner

Günter Wand isn’t a household name in the United States, but in Britain and Germany he is one of the most admired conductors on the 20th Century. Wand came into this admiration late in life. ...

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