Arts & Events

New: New Esterházy Quartet Plays Beethoven’s 15th & 16th String Quartets

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday August 29, 2015 - 02:13:00 PM

On Friday evening, August 29, Berkeley’s Hillside Club once again hosted The New Esterházy Quartet in their series of concerts devoted to Beethoven’s Late Quartets. The program for this concert featured Beethoven’s 15th and 16th Quartets, the former in A minor, Op. 132, and the latter in F, Op. 135. The A minor Quartet is one of three late quartets by Beethoven in which he experimented with the structure, going far beyond the Classical string quartet structure of four movements. His Op. 130 contains six movements, his Op. 132 has five movements, and his Op. 131, (which was actually composed after the Op. 132 Quartet), contains seven movements. -more-

New Esterházy Quartet Plays Beethoven’s Late Quartets at Berkeley’s Hillside Club

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday August 28, 2015 - 04:28:00 PM

Locally based, The New Esterházy Quartet offered on Wednesday, August 26, at Berkeley’s Hillside Club the first of three concerts dedicated to Beethoven’s Late String Quartets. This series of concerts presents a wonderful opportunity for Bay Area listeners to hear an internationally acclaimed string quartet perform the monumental late quartets of Beethoven’s mature musical genius. Moreover, Berkeley’s Hillside Club, now nearly 100 years old in its present form, having been rebuilt in 1924 after the disastrous fire of 1923, is a small, 100-seat concert hall with excellent acoustics, and it offers the best possible venue for listening to chamber music. I cannot insist strongly enough on this point. Chamber music should not be played in cavernous auditoriums such as Zellerbach Hall, where I happened to hear the Takács Quartet play Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130 last December. That experience was less than satisfying. (See my review of Dec. 14, 2014 in these pages.) -more-

Around & About--Music: Curious Flight's New Season Opens

Ken Bullock
Friday August 28, 2015 - 04:21:00 PM

Brenden Guy, clarinetist who plays with the Berkeley Symphony and other prestigious Bay Area ensembles, founded Curious Flights a couple of years ago, a concert series featuring fine local musicians and ensembles and works not always heard hereabouts.

On Saturday, August 29th, Curious Flight's new season opens at the San Francisco Conservatory with 'An English Portrait,' music from the British Isles being another feature of the ongoing concerts. Adler Fellow soprano Julie Adams will be soloist with Miles Graber on piano performing John Ireland's Songs Sacred and Profane, followed by Brenden Guy on clarinet with the One Found Sound string quartet. St. Dominic's Schola Cantorum will sing Vaughan Williams' Valiant for Truth, Benjamin Britten's The Shepherd Carol, and My Spirit Sang All Day by Gerald Finzi, under the direction of Simon Berry. Arnold Bax's Sonata for Two Pianos will be played by Peter Grunberg and Keisuke Nakagoshi, the program concluding with John Kendall bailey conducting the Curious Flights Chamber Ensemble in Britten's Sinfonietta, Op. 1. -more-

Around & About--Theater: Lower Bottom Playaz Perform August Wilson's 'King Hedley II'

Ken Bullock
Friday August 28, 2015 - 03:37:00 PM

The Lower Bottom Playaz, out of West Oakland, have moved Uptown to the Flight Deck to perform the next-to-last play of August Wilson's series that covers a century of black life and society in the Hill district of Pittsburg, 'King Hedley II.' With the completion of the series in a few months, when LBP puts on 'Radio Golf,' they'll be the first ever to have performed the series in its chronological order, as envisioned by the late playwright. And the troupe brings an unusual sense of authenticity to the project--real community theater. Directed by founder Ayodele Nzinga. -more-