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Category: Chamber Music

UNFAMILIAR TWISTS IN CHAMBER MUSIC – Crack Tetzlaffs in Belated Berkeley Debut

UNFAMILIAR TWISTS IN CHAMBER MUSIC – Crack Tetzlaffs in Belated Berkeley Debut

The brother-sister act Plus Two known as the Tetzlaff Quartet played gorgeous music. Sometimes like a well-oiled sports car, the sound purrs at you seductively or inflames you, leaving  the sell-out crowd wishing for more. First violinist Christian Tetzlaff is a legend both as recitalist and concerto soloist, but here he was in a third guise leading a chamber music group in Austrian standards. It was a study in contrasts: Three tall women, poised and disciplined, anchored by sister Tanja…

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NEW CENTURY PLAYERS’ YOUTH MOVEMENT

NEW CENTURY PLAYERS’ YOUTH MOVEMENT

During its interregnum period, the crack New Century Chamber Orchestra  is inviting various contrasting guest leaders. The latest is Benjamin Beilman, a supremely gifted East Coast violinist, who was younger than any of the 19 players in the ensemble that he led on Nov. 9. Though a superb soloist, Beilman has neither the experience nor the knack of integrating into an ensemble and blending his sound seamlessly into the orchestra. Indeed, according to his detailed and impressive CV, he has…

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MENLO PARK: BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE BACH

MENLO PARK: BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE BACH

Talk about depth. The chamber-music festival Music@Menlo showed off four different lead violinists in baroque concertos, each one better than the previous, and on the under-40 side too. If alone, any one of them could be the star of this bucolic festival running through Aug. 5, though none of them (yet) command wide-spread name recognition, at least on the West Coast. Unlike the past 14 seasons, when the pianists often had the upper hand, this year’s spotlight is on all-strings,…

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DID BEETHOVEN MEET DEBUSSY IN A TIME WARP??

DID BEETHOVEN MEET DEBUSSY IN A TIME WARP??

Those fire-eaters from Southern Cal known as the Calder Quartet played some bristling contemporary works, plus one of Beethoven’s most whimsical efforts. The four mid-career men—identically dressed in dark suits, with matching ties—show an uncanny rhythmic bent able to decipher and render the most complex metric signatures that only modern composers like Thomas  Adès and Boulez dare to call for and to dabble in. Seven beats to the measure, 11, 13, even 25 (or almost any prime number you might…

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THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!

Chamber Works Focused 1850-1945  By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of July 20-27, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 78 ATHERTON, CA—During the summer doldrums, count on Music@Menlo to liven up the scene with prime chamber music. Admittedly, it’s a challenge, given this year’s Russian theme. Serious Russian music didn’t stir noticeably  till Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert were gone. But in the opening week, Music@Menlo offered a package of early works by…

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AN EXEMPLARY PROGRAM BY ENGLISH VIOLINIST-LEADER DANIEL HOPE

AN EXEMPLARY PROGRAM BY ENGLISH VIOLINIST-LEADER DANIEL HOPE

PALO ALTO—The visiting English violinist Daniel Hope is not only a stylish leader, but he brings along a palpable magnetic personality and a stimulating program spanning three centuries that puts competing groups to shame. His week as guest leader of the New Century Chamber Orchestra brought on four moderns, offset against the usual Bach-Vivaldi standards. And at the midpoint, he played that OTHER Mendelssohn Violin Concerto you haven’t heard, and he made a very strong case for it. In sum,…

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CHAMBER MUSIC’S ORNITHOLOGICAL CORNUCOPIA

CHAMBER MUSIC’S ORNITHOLOGICAL CORNUCOPIA

Farallon Quintet with a New Cannon Aviary The unusual Farallon Quintet reminds us there are more than 600 compositions for clarinet and string quartet—precisely Farallon’s personnel. Not too caught up in the past, the SF-based Faralloners like to feast on new music. And to launch the new year in style, while musicians elsewhere seemed to be left gnawing on turkey leftovers ad infinitum, letting halls go dark, these players tightened their belts carried off two world premieres at the Old…

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THAT FORMIDABLE MOZART CLARINET QUINTET

THAT FORMIDABLE MOZART CLARINET QUINTET

Dali Quartet Linked with Virtuoso Ricardo Morales SAN JOSE—Most orchestras have a No. Two conductor/consultant. Chamber groups have no such luck. The orchestra can send the #2 around during rehearsals, hear from the audience side, and judge whether all the balances between sections are good. The Dalí String Quartet from Philadelphia could use a similar sonic consultant to get optimum outcomes. They played a novel program here Oct. 25, pairing up with a stellar clarinetist, Ricardo Morales, principal in the…

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GRAND AND CHAMBER: OPPOSING CONCEPTS

GRAND AND CHAMBER: OPPOSING CONCEPTS

Overwhelming Voice at the NCCO Opener BERKELEY—-The grand operatic approach can be heavenly with a diva like soprano Ailyn Pérez, who is just back from a starring role at LaScala. But in an intimate church setting as soloist with a small string orchestra, it can misfire. She tackled an ambitious almost-all-Russian program opening the New Century Chamber Orchestra season Sept. 17. The rest of the program of snippets and transcriptions was much more promising, though given the huge repertoire for…

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BEETHOVEN, THIS TIME A MITE SHEEPISH

BEETHOVEN, THIS TIME A MITE SHEEPISH

Late Quartets, & ‘Transplant,’ in Intimate Berkeley Hall BERKELEY—The perfect trifecta to report: an unfamiliar ensemble, a new hall, and Beethoven music that was (once considered) very modern. To fill the August vacuum in classical music, the New Esterházy (String) Quartet tackled the formidable last five quartets, Op. 127-135, written by Beethoven in his last couple of years, when he was in failing health and pain. These works were so far ahead of their time, they raised hackles among critics,…

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