Classical Music

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

The other Haydn

Michael Haydn was brother to Joseph and mentor to Mozart

Michael Haydn died on August 10, 1806. He was younger brother to Joseph Haydn and counted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart amongst his friends and admirers. The anniversary of his death prompted me to give his Requiem ...

Stop picking the Wagnerian scab

It’s time to take Wagner back from National Socialism

Whatever would we do without PC culture to judge the recent past (last 200 years) for us and then share its verdict of guilty based on the precious shell which has been slowly swallowing culture ...

Schoenberg and his truth

Perhaps I need to find a summer love

One of my early tactics for exploring music was to simply find recordings with orchestra and chorus. I sang in choirs all through high school and college, so I was into works with chorus. I ...

Cultural relativity sucks

It's time for classical music to grow up and own its greatness

What is becoming the summer of the curmudgeon continues now that I’ve read an article in the New York Times regarding Pres. Trump and a remark he made about symphonies. The remark was made in ...

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

For the love of God lose the (R)

To continue the theme of innovation versus truth and beauty, I present to you, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. This new opera by Mason Bates had its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera on Saturday, ...

The derivative curse

Composers who try to avoid it are to doomed to be it

Derivative is the greatest insult in the book when it comes to modern composers. No one wants to be declared as “derivative” of anything. I am, of course, speaking of the artistic derivative not the ...

Beethoven should send a bill

The Milky Way inspires a look at what gives and what takes

On the way to camping in Idaho I stopped on The Extraterrestrial Highway. My children were with me and wondered what was going on when I pulled the car over in the middle of nowhere. ...

John Williams sells tickets

Comic-Con helps symphony sell out concert of movie music

Well, well, well. Comic-Con has sold out the San Diego Symphony’s July 22 concert. The title of the concert is Raiders, Rebels, and Supermen: The Music of John Williams. Now Mr. Williams is popular no ...

Summertime Wagner, again

How can I sit here and justify anti-Semitism?

It feels as though every summer I get into Wagner. It could be because news of the Bayreuth Festival is always there to remind me. It could be because I rarely get a chance to ...

The problem with innovation

Van Gogh was so innovative that he didn’t sell any of his paintings

The conclusion of the Mainly Mozart Festival included a piece of music by Alfred Schnittke. I wrote that Schnittke was trying too hard to be innovative with the marching of the players around the stage ...

What happened here is sorely needed

Moz-Art a la Rachmaninoff

The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra season has come to a close. There is still plenty of Mainly Mozart to be had during the remaining 50 weeks until the next one but the orchestra is on ...

San Diego Symphony's musical July on the Embarcadero

A quick look at the Bayside Summer Nights schedule

The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights has its Fourth of July weekend coming up on June 30, July 1, and 2. However, on The Fourth of July the symphony welcomes country star Wynonna Judd. ...

Time to eat crow

A touch of magic tingles in the air when Hadelich plays

Every now and again it is important to eat some crow and I had an appetite for it after the Mainly Mozart concert on Thursday, June 22. Previously I had said I could go the ...

Prokoviev-ing

Platonic forms and divine muses make an appearance at Mainly Mozart

We now have a peak experience to add to the list for Mainly Mozart, but it came from Prokofiev and Beethoven. The Mainly Mozart Festival is taking a chronological journey through Mozart’s life over the ...

If you can use The Force, then use it

Mainly Mozart's second concert

Two concerts into the Mainly Mozart Festival and all is well. The second concert on Thursday, June 15, was a mixed bag for moi. This was the third time I’ve been to a Mainly Mozart ...

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