Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Feb. 11-18

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Sunday February 11, 2018 - 10:31:00 AM

As usual, the list of City meetings is long and packed, however, there are four meetings that deserve special attention: City Council Regular Session on Tuesday evening, Significant Community Benefits Tuesday morning, Urban Shield Wednesday afternoon and Design Review Committee on Thursday evening.

Tuesday evening Berkeley City Council items 11, 32, 38, 39 all relate to the homeless – the fence on Adeline, porta potties, homeless encampment, storage at Premier Cru. Take aways from the forum on Homelessness, 0.83% of Berkeley population is homeless, 75% homeless are from the area, there is a direct relationship between the increasing homeless population and rent increases, 97% of homeless want to be in housing. Reality check, Stonefire at University and Milvia listed prices for 2 Bed – 2 Bath are $6360 - $6720. Estimates of the number of vacant/unrented apartments in Berkeley is 1000 -3000 – true number is unknown.

Indivisible Berkeley list of actions you can do from home,

The meeting list is also posted on the Sustainable Berkeley Coalition website.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Candidate Forum CA Assembly District 15, Alameda County DA, 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm, 2939 Ellis, South Berkeley Senior Center, everyone welcome to hear candidates, only members of BTU, BPA, BCA will vote for endorsement.

Indivisible Berkeley General Assembly, Sunday, Feb 11, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm, 1970 Chestnut St, Finnish Hall, General Assembly meeting -more-

Garrick Ohlsson’s Brilliant “Emperor” Concerto of Beethoven

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday February 10, 2018 - 04:54:00 PM

On Thursday evening, February 8, Garrick Ohlsson returned to Davies Hall to perform in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73, with the San Francisco Symphony under Herbert Blomstedt. This concerto, so-called the “Emperor,” marks the culmination and conclusion of Beethoven’s “heroic” style that began with the Third Symphony, “Eroica.” Musically, Garrick Ohlsson and Herbert Blomstedt are well-matched. They have performed together many times over the decades. Still, when onstage together now they seem physical opposites. Ohlsson is a great bear of a man. Blomstedt, now age ninety, and looking a bit frail, though he is still full of energy, is dwarfed by Ohlsson. However, they make beautiful music together. Ohlsson’s rendition of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto is almost a benchmark for all pianists. Likewise, Blomstedt’s attention to orchestral details in this work, his sense of timing and dynamic variations, make Blomstedt’s “Emperor” Concerto almost a benchmark for all conductors. -more-

Stephen Isserlis Plays Haydn’s Second Cello Concerto with Philharmonia Baroque

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday February 11, 2018 - 09:10:00 PM

In a concert series dubbed “Harmonic Convergence,” Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, led by Nicholas McGegan, performed music of Mozart, Haydn, and Frederick William Herschel. If the last named is not familiar to you as a composer, perhaps he is more familiar to you as the astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus as well as many comets. In any case, the main attraction in these concerts, which took place throughout the Bay Area from February 7 through 11, was British cellist Stephen Isserlis, who performed in Joseph Haydn’s Concerto for Violincello No. 2 in D Major. I attended the Saturday, February 10 concert at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church. -more-

Jonathan Biss & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Play Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday February 11, 2018 - 09:08:00 PM

How lucky we are in the Bay Area! This week, in the space of four days, we heard Beethoven’s monumental Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, nicknamed the “Emperor,” performed by two world-class pianists with two world-class orchestras! On Thursday, February 9, I heard pianist Garrick Ohlsson team up with conductor Herbert Blomstedt and the San Francisco Symphony; and on Sunday afternoon, February 11, I heard Jonathan Biss as soloist and director with the St, Paul Chamber Orchestra. What a study of contrasts were the two performances. The Ohlsson-Blomstedt rendition of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto, as I wrote in the review that was posted here Saturday, was outstanding in its attention to details, and, especially, its attention to dynamics. Jonathan Biss’s rendition, on the contrary, paid little attention to dynamics. It’s not that Biss did not occasionally play softly. He did, though not as softly as Ohlsson. Rather, it’s that the St, Paul Chamber Orchestra rarely played softly, and, here too, never as softly as the San Francisco Symphony led by Herbert Blomstedt. In short, there was little, if any, sense of dynamic contrast in the Biss-St. Paul Chamber Orchestra rendition of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. Instead, Biss and his orchestra thundered throughout this work, hardly ever allowing softer, more delicate moments to appear in the music. -more-