Classical Music

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

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 ...

You can't toss off the Adagio for Strings

Even if you consider Jesus to be a fiction, there is no denying that the stakes are quite exalted.

The San Diego Symphony gave a concert on May 11, 12, and 13 with music director emeritus Jahja Ling conducting the music of Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and Ludwig van Beethoven. The programming was puzzling. ...

One Amazing Night at the San Diego Opera

This concert meant something

San Diego Opera closed their 2017/18 season on May 5 with a concert billed as One Amazing Night. They weren’t lying. The concert starred Greer Grimsley and Lise Lindstrom accompanied by the San Diego Symphony ...

Onslow, lost in the onslaught

World War I shattered the promises of the Enlightenment

Beethoven and Schubert admired him. Mendelssohn and Schumann thought his string quartets were as good as those by Mozart and Beethoven. Schubert fashioned his cello sonatas after this composer’s cello sonatas. He was George Onslow ...

I'll hit you with a stick and you rejoice

Maestro Ling returns carrying a big stick.

Maestro Jahja Ling returned to the podium of the San Diego Symphony on April 20, 21, and 22 with a concert which was about as cinematic as they come. The program was packaged around Ling ...

An amiable concert at San Diego Symphony

The Mozart was pretty much what all Mozart has been

The San Diego Symphony concert on Saturday, April 14, was good. Jeffrey Kahane was both piano soloist and conductor in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27. Kahane went on to conduct Samuel Barber’s Music for a ...

Schumann vs. Schubert

It's springtime — time for Dichterliebe

I was speaking with a friend who is planning a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise. I immediately roasted him by pointing out that it’s springtime. I went on to offer some unsolicited advice and recommended Schumann’s ...

Trump and Wagner are nowhere close to equals

But the similarities of their convictions are eerie

I’m reading a book. Yes, it’s about Wagner. No, I don’t read books about any other composers. Yes, I’m enjoying it. Of the books I’ve read on the topic of Wagner, this one is by ...

All quirks present and accounted for

Mahler’s music is overtly psychological and biographical, perhaps more than any other composer

Mahler’s Symphony No. 1: Titan might be dwarfed by his Symphony No, 2: Resurrection but amongst first symphonic efforts, Mahler’s first looms large. Is there a first symphony by any composer which is performed more ...

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