Classical Music

Top-notch Mozart by way of Bach

San Diegos request to classical music might just be "talk to us a little"

Saturday night’s Mainly Mozart concert was a wonderful experience of musicology. Conductor Michael Francis spoke before each piece instead of having a printed “Maestro’s Notes” in the program. This is the type of approach which ...

Sexy mountain climb

An esoteric pick of the week for the Richard Strauss, the birthday boy

Richard Strauss had a birthday this week so let’s make him our esoteric pick of the week as a birthday present. It’s the thought that counts. Strauss wrote six “great tone poems.” In all, there ...

Bring the healing

Michael Francis talks Mainly Mozart in Balboa Park

There is a unique event coming up on Sunday, June 14th, at 3 p.m. — a free concert at Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama. What is the event? I’ll let Maestro Michael Francis tell us ...

How to start with Mozart and end up with nihilism

The arbitrary fame of the Haffners leads Garrett to wonder what really matters

Mozart’s Haffner Symphony is a fairly famous piece of music, but who the hell was Haffner? Haffer got not just the symphony but also a 55-minute-long serenade. That’s about 90 minutes of music by Mozart ...

You need an epic to describe an epic

A Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra experience only Homer can describe

“No more words — he dashed toward the city, heart racing for some great exploit, rushing on like a champion stallion drawing a chariot full tilt, sweeping across the plain in easy, tearing strides — ...

Voice of understanding

Conductor Michael Francis talks Mozart, "the most fascinating of all musical lives"

The new music director of Mainly Mozart, Michael Francis, hits us with a firehose-stream of knowledge and understanding prior to the opening of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra concerts. The interview is so extensive that ...

Vaughn Williams's esoteric summer road trip

Slip on your Wayfarers and learn about the wanderers and their soundtrack

Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams is the esoteric pick of the week. Now, if at any time in your life you’ve been a baritone undergraduate student, this is not an "esoteric" selection — this ...

Mainly better than sliced bread

The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra starts this week!

I’ve been waiting for this moment for 49 weeks. I’m not even joking. The first of five Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra concerts is this Saturday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. The venue is the Balboa ...

They're not going to come find you

Continued discourse on the problems of classical music attendance

It’s not a matter of people not liking classical music. I’ve been driving for Uber here and there for some extra income and I always have classical music playing via Spotify. What usually ensues is ...

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 ...