The Halloween-ness of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique”

It’s October, Halloween is here and I am obsessed with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Blame it on the title and mood of the symphony’s fifth movement: “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath.” Could any title be more deliciously spooky? It’s this movement, and this symphony, that make classical music people nod in recognition at the sound of … Read moreThe Halloween-ness of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique”

Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres for Strings & Percussion” at the SF Symphony

  Happy July! There is something about going to the symphony in the summer that makes it feel like such a different experience from its wintertime counterpart. How strange to enter Davies Symphony Hall while it’s still light outside. Inside, you stand at any of the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows—in truth, one entire side of the building … Read moreArvo Pärt’s “Fratres for Strings & Percussion” at the SF Symphony

Slipping inside Fauré’s Nocturne No. 4

Nocturne: (noun) In music, a composition inspired by, or evocative of, the night, and cultivated in the 19th century primarily as a character piece for piano.  Falling in love with French composer Gabriel Fauré’s Nocturne No. 4 wasn’t one of those thunderclap experiences. It crept up on me, gradually. I’d been listening to this Fauré Nocturne CD … Read moreSlipping inside Fauré’s Nocturne No. 4

Possokhov and Scarlett bring two world premieres to the SFB stage

With The Sleeping Beauty all wrapped up at the War Memorial Opera House, it’s officially the halfway point for San Francisco Ballet’s 2019 repertory season. Last season’s Unbound: A Festival of New Works (which I blogged about HERE) gave the company twelve world premieres, several of which are being repeated this season. But 2019 brings its … Read morePossokhov and Scarlett bring two world premieres to the SFB stage

Green Book and Chopin’s stunning Étude

  If you’re a moviegoer who follows the Oscars, you might have seen Green Book, a 2018 movie about an Italian-American bouncer who chauffeurs an African-American pianist on a performing tour through the deep South in the 1960s. It stars actors Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, and I can’t say enough good things about it. What drew me, … Read moreGreen Book and Chopin’s stunning Étude