Classical Music

One big cover band

Is the audience there for the performer or the music?

Can we finally agree that classical music is about the music? It is not my intention to diminish the brilliance of classical performances, but a classical music artist is really a member of a huge ...

Near to genius

Stephen Hough flirts with true brilliance

I’m not sure I’ve used the term genius in the past when describing a performer. I’m not sure it applies here either, but it’s pretty darn close. Stephen Hough was a candidate for genius while ...

Is it all about brand recognition?

Observations from last weekend’s fantastic, sparsely attended Spanish Rhapsody concert

The hall was about half full for the Spanish Rhapsody. Previously the hall had been 95% full for Carmina Burana. To my mind and heart, the Spanish concert had the greater merit musically and artistically ...

My name is Inigo Montoya, I play the violin, prepare to die

A Spanish lovefest at Symphony Hall

The San Diego Symphony concert on Saturday, May 9, was as hot as Seville in August — maybe hotter. (I’m not sure, since I’ve never been to Seville, but I can imagine.) Violinist Ray Chen ...

Spanish music by French guys comes to the Symphony

Sounds like they might punch you or make love to you — or both

I complained about a lack of variety in symphonic programming just in time for the San Diego Symphony to present an entire concert of hidden gems, built around a Spanish theme. Ravel is the most ...

Appeal of the new-old

Continued reflection on butts and seats

The esoteric pick of the week series is starting to piss me off. There is a buttload of amazing music out there that isn’t being performed. I understand why opera companies would want to stick ...

It's not you, it's me, Carmina

Garrett's sad breakup with what he was considered a masterpiece

As I listened to Carmina Burana it occurred to me that it wasn’t the greatest music in the world. In fact, it’s something of a one-hit-wonder. What else did Orff write? Think about it — ...

Show thief!

Conrad Tao runs away with the entire evening at San Diego Symphony

Conrad Tao stole the show twice on Saturday, May 2, at Symphony Hall. He tore the place apart with the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 and then upstaged that monster with the conclusion of Prokofiev’s ...

No marketing, sharing, or promotion, please!

What if the sparsely attended Symphony realized it was 2015?

Never, ever, record a symphony or opera concert. Ever. If you do, it will be a blatant and vile transgression against the very foundations of what your friends want you to share with them. (And ...

Celebration of sex and gambling

The Carmina Burana text may have been authored by clerics, but it has Vegas beat.

I thought I was the first guy to have a 10-hours-long sexual encounter with the goddess Venus herself. As it turns out, I’m 800 years late, since someone shared just such an experience in the ...

Spring has sprung

This week is blooming with classical music

Carmina Burana, American composer royalty, fairy tales, and Romeo and Juliet are all part of a jam packed classical music week in San Diego County. Carmina Burana features sweaty gambling followed by naked men leaving ...

History, culture, and the Dance of Death

An old story made new is the esoteric pick of the week

"You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you dance with the reaper." — Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey On February 14, 1942, the Royal Air Force received authorization ...

Context brings out the creep

Ignorance could not last forever as the melancholy story of Die Tote Stadt comes out.

In spite of my desire to remain mystically ignorant of Korngold’s context regarding Marietta’s Lied, a conversation thread on Facebook has not allowed it. The aria comes in the first act of Die Tote Stadt ...

Out of time and space

Garrett's experience of "Marietta’s Lied" from Die Tote Stadt is never to be bested

I have one observation from the back row of the chorus regarding the San Diego Opera 50th Anniversary Gala. So long as I live, I will never hear or experience anything more beautiful than Marietta’s ...

Greatest of the great

The 50th Anniversary Gala at San Diego Opera may be a monumental experience

The voice was bouncing off the back wall of the house and echoing back onto the stage. The goosebumps were making their rounds through the assembly. It was obvious that this was going to be ...

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