Classical Music

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

The music is the music

The Romantic German wrote a choral symphony... or did he?

I’m feeling a tad sheepish here about my classical music knowledge. I did not realized that Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 was written for orchestra, chorus and soloists. I was listening along on Spotify to Mendelssohn ...

Duet for organ and canine

Summer Organ Festival brings a true outdoor flavor to Balboa Park

I try to make it down to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at least once during summer. There is a concert at the Organ Pavilion every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. through August 31. On Monday ...

Elegant and unimportant

Faure's Pavane not that revolutionary

Let’s get a little crazy and combine a summer piece of music with the esoteric pick of the week. The power of this concept is overwhelming me. It’s the perfect summer storm. Faure composed his ...

Purer but not better

Voices versus instruments in the classical setting

The importance of human voices coming together has become less and less valued. There was a time when voices coming together was much more important to society. There is a coming together in a choir ...

Bring back the court composer, part two

Just a day dream....

Concerning the court composer or orchestral organization composer and compensation. Almost every orchestra has a donor or 20 with guest houses somewhere in the city. The composer would receive housing. The donor gets to possibly ...

Bring back the court composer

With no new symphonies to speak of, what's to be done?

Why not bring back the court composer? Way back when, aristocrats used to have their own orchestras and composers who wrote music for those orchestras. Why not bring that model back? What if the San ...

Do great singers ever really die?

The recent death of Jon Vickers is part of a strange phenomenon

Jon Vickers died on July 10, 2015. He had been retired since 1988 and had a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s. It’s a strange phenomenon when an artist of his stature dies. The first reaction, if ...

Classical... karaoke?

Faure's Requiem draws a participiatory crowd in Mission Valley, Vivaldi's next

There is a series of "summer sings" at Mission Valley Methodist Church over the next several weeks. I went to the first one on Wednesday, July 8. The piece for the concert was Gabriel Faure's ...

Because one opera company isn't enough

San Diego City Opera to launch its season in October

Last year, San Diego almost had no opera company. Now it has two. This is a feat New York City couldn't pull off. New York City Opera closed down in 2013, leaving that city with ...

Star-spangled drunk

Real talk about the national anthem

Let us talk "Star-Spangled Banner." First, the tune is a British drinking song — people would sing this while they got drunk and nobody had a problem with making this the national anthem of the ...

White nights, summer romance

Soundtracks for the sunny season

When considering classical music with a summer theme, sometimes the title gives a clue — as in Frank Bridge's Summer. There is also Summer by Glazunov and Vivaldi. See there? Now, what do all three ...

Summer of nothing

Beethoven sits us down by the stream and does... nothing

Our recent little thunderstorm reminded me of what is probably the best piece of summer music: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. There are fives sections of the symphony, one of which is a thunderstorm which passes ...

Miss what most of us never had

James Agee and San Diego: Summer of 2015

Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Is there a more nostalgic title? It evokes a yearning for simpler times, a time when fathers watered their lawns by hose in the evening, after supper, while children played and ...

More complicated than you might think

A soprano isn't just a soprano

Let’s talk about soloists and concert music. I’ve yet to be impressed with any soloists at any of the orchestras in town. I’ve found them all to be serviceable at best and miscast at worst. ...

Are you free?

Singing for free is the norm, so why make it an issue?

Why don’t orchestras pay choruses for the concerts that require a chorus? Why would an institution with a $20 million budget not pay choristers? Here’s the deal. They do pay choruses, but they pay the ...

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