Arts & Events

New: Around & About: Music--Cypress String Quartet at the City Club; a Note on Berkeley Symphony

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 05:24:00 PM

Cypress String Quartet--Cecily Ward & Tom Stone, violins; Ethan Fitner, viola & Kloetze, cello--whose group name comes from the title for 12 love songs Anton Dvorak composed for string quartet, will play at 8 this coming Tuesday at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, between Ellsworth & Dana, featuring Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 (actually his first quartet from 1801); Erwin Schulhof's Divertimento for String Quartet, Opus 14 (Schulhof, a Czech composer encouraged by Dvorak, died in a concentration camp, held as Jew and socialist; and Dvorak's String Quartet in E-flat, Opus 51. -more-

Theater Review: Just Theater's 'We Are Pleased to Present a Presentation ... ' at Ashby Stage--(Last Performances)

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:43:00 PM

--"What if we ended it right there? The overview may be enough ... "

--"But what about my song?"

Just Theater, in collaboration with Shotgun Players, has taken on Jackie Sibblies Drury's 'We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915,' now going into its final weekend at Ashby Stage, about a mixed race ensemble struggling in taking on a seemingly undefined--and protean--project concerning a not-so-well known colonialist genocide of an indigenous African people a hundred years ago--by turns awkward and funny, argumentative and increasingly gamey and troubling to both players and audience. -more-

Theater Review: 'How the World Began' at Custom-Made Theatre

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:39:00 PM

A Brooklyn schoolteacher, leaving a botched personal life behind--though more than memories follow her, as she's "in the family way"--takes a job in a Kansas town rebuilding from tornado devastation, and the big city teacher finds herself questioned by the stepson of one of the tornado victims, a young man traumatized too by the physical impact of the storm, about a casual aside she made during class, something she doesn't remember, while explaining the origin and early development of the earth--and the student wants an apology for what he regards as a slander to his god. -more-

Masakela, Mandela Featured at U.C. Berkeley this week

Ken Bullock
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:35:00 PM

Great South African trumpeter-fluegelhorn player-vocalist-bandleader Hugh Masakela will split the bill with Sotho singer-songwriter guitarist Vusi Mahlasela, "the Voice of South Africa," for a program of music to celebrate "20 Years of Freedom" this Wednesday at 8 in Zellerbach Auditorium, near Telegraph and Bancroft on the UC campus. Masakela, the former husband and collaborator of the late, great singer Miriam Makeba, is in particular no stranger to Berkeley audiences: 45 years ago, leading his band The Union of South Africa, he mounted an ecstatic, unforgettable nighttime show at the Greek Theater for the UC Jazz Festival to wild audience and critical acclaim. Tickets are selling briskly. $19-$64. 642-9988; -more-

American Bach Soloists Perform the St. Matthew Passion

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 06, 2015 - 05:16:00 PM

It is one of the oddities of music history that more than 75 years after the death of Johann Sebastian Bach his monumental St. Matthew Passion had long been neglected and almost forgotten. It is to the credit of Felix Mendelssohn that in 1829 he resuscitated Bach’s St. Matthew Passion by performing this work with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. However, Mendelssohn saw fit to hugely amplify the orchestral forces far beyond the modest scale of Bach’s own era. Thus, audiences today are more likely to encounter the St. Matthew Passion in the large-scale setting initiated by Mendelssohn than in the small-scale setting Bach himself would have performed. -more-

Anne-Sophie Mutter Plays Brahms at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday March 06, 2015 - 04:48:00 PM

Anne-Sophie Mutter returned to San Francisco for four performances of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D-Major, Thursday-Sunday, February 26-March 1, with the San Francisco Symphony. To hear Mutter play this Brahms concerto 33 years after her famous recording of it when, as a young teenager, she teamed up with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, offers a rare opportunity to examine how an artist’s interpretation changes over time. Interestingly, the youthful Anne-Sophie Mutter’s reading of the Brahms concerto under von Karajan turns out to be mellower, more graceful and balanced than her mature inter-pretation under Michael Tilson Thomas, which latter is hard-edged to the point of being almost strident. -more-