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

Yuja Wang, Wittgenstein and Ravel’s curious Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

  I suppose it’s not all that curious. If you are a concert pianist and your right arm is a casualty in World War I, afterwards you have two options. One: give up your music career and calling, do something inferior and cry into your soup for the rest of your life. Two: tell yourself, “All … Read moreYuja Wang, Wittgenstein and Ravel’s curious Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

Sibelius, Finlandia & the cry of freedom

      Jean Sibelius’ tone-poem, Finlandia, wasn’t supposed to be the program headliner one recent Saturday night at the San Francisco Symphony. The main draw was the Sibelius Violin Concerto, gracefully and sensitively rendered by Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, with Finnish guest conductor Osmö Vänskä leading the orchestra. Vänskä, music director of the Minnesota … Read moreSibelius, Finlandia & the cry of freedom

Veronika Eberle and the Schumann VC

The program last Sunday at the San Francisco Symphony was billed as “Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor, with guest conductor Roberto Abbado.” Great, enjoyable stuff. But one glance at my playbill once I was seated gave me no doubt which piece on the program would outshine the rest for me: Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D minor. … Read moreVeronika Eberle and the Schumann VC

Was Mozart the first music pirate?

The fourteen-year-old Mozart didn’t see himself as being a music pirate, mind you. He was just doing the thing he so excelled at, with his musical genius and photographic memory, back in the spring of 1770. He and his father Leopold were in Rome, working their way through Italy for the month as the young … Read moreWas Mozart the first music pirate?