Classical Music

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

October is ripe

San Diego concert harvest rich and full

It’s the middle of September and all is quiet, but October is on the way. The San Diego Opera is moving one of their mainstage productions to October, and the autumn harvest of concerts is ...

SD Opera’s Tito Capobianco dies

He left fuming, with company in the red

Tito Capobianco, the autocrat who brought San Diego Opera — and the late soprano Beverly Sills — to prominence, died September 8 at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, to which he had retired in 2000. He was 87. ...

Why do anything else when I can listen to Bruckner

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 and Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 only come close

It’s time to recognize the birthday of my favorite composer. I never expected to play the My Favorite Composer game. But when I saw that September 4 was the birthday of Anton Bruckner, I realized ...

Leningrad in October

We need to remember the devastation of totalitarianism.

Of all the special concerts over all the years, perhaps this one is the most special. Great orchestras such as The Philharmonia or The Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, among others, visit San Diego on a ...

Why vocal recitals are a clear loser

Money? Repertoire? Singers?

One of the least appreciated elements of classical music is the vocal recital. It is a double rite of passage for vocal majors in that they are required to produce both a junior and senior ...

Pleasure Island

Once you go full jackass, it's too late.

Pinocchio just might be the most underrated movie of all time. Watching it as a child is one thing but having it dissected by a psychology professor is something else. I’ve been watching the Maps ...

The hitch in changing the rules

Started in 19th Century music, accelerated after WWII with opera

One of the earliest and most important elements of human development, according to Jean Piaget, is learning how to play fair within the agreed-upon rules of a game. In other words, we learn how to ...

The doctor is in

Extroverted or introverted, it doesn't matter. Classical music and opera works for you.

There are two ways in which we can interact with classical music and opera. One is extroverted and one is introverted. We could call these the transpersonal and the personalistic. One more? The external and ...

Hello Neumann

The ascent toward consciousness is unnatural

I did a very strange thing this week. I went to the library and checked out a book. First let me say that the not-so-new Central Library Branch is a distinct failure, except for the ...

Why Brahms burned his letters

Brahms would never marry or ever have sexual relations with any woman he loved

I recently read Simon Callow’s excellent biography of Richard Wagner. Now, to be fair, I’m reading a biography of Johannes Brahms by Jan Swafford. As in music, in biography these two are opposed. We have ...

The Intellectual Dark Web

Long form on the rise

Could it be that the tide is beginning to swing back to classical music? With the demise of network television and radio a new space is beginning to open up which could shift musical taste ...

Mainly Mozart marathon

The performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 pushed the limits

The Mainly Mozart Festival has completed it’s Genius Weekend which ran from June 7-June 10 at multiple locations throughout San Diego County and Tijuana. It was perhaps the most rigorous weekend of music and presentations ...

What happens behind closed doors?

I'll take portamenti for the win.

The Mainly Mozart Festival sprinted out of the gate with four concerts on June 1, 2, and 3. Three of the opening concerts were Spotlight Chamber Music events in Rancho Santa Fe Garden, La Jolla, ...

San Diego Symphony finale

Brahms, de Waart, and the symphony rode off into a brilliant sunset

The San Diego Symphony’s 2017-18 Jacobs Masterworks Series came to a satisfying conclusion with concerts on May 25, 26, and 27. The concerts were conducted by maestro Edo de Waart who, you might recall, was ...

Regret is useless, and yet...

I make a big deal out of the Mainly Mozart festival because it actually is a big deal

Every year I make a big deal of the upcoming Mainly Mozart Festival, and I do this because it actually is a big deal. I had been writing about classical music for about five years ...

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