How are things on the West Coast?  For MTT, the LSO, and Yuja Wang, things were good but could have been so much better
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Other classical music concerts and recitals (in So Cal and beyond) / Reviews 2014/2015

How are things on the West Coast? For MTT, the LSO, and Yuja Wang, things were good but could have been so much better

The London Symphony, 111-year old bastion of UK musical institutions famed for its virtuosity and flexibility, is an orchestra in transition. The peripatetic Valery Gergiev remains its official Principal Conductor through the end of this year, but the LSO created a big splash earlier this month when it announced that Simon Rattle will become its Music … Continue reading

Down a different sort of rabbit hole:  the LA Phil finally brings Chin’s <i>Alice in Wonderland</i> to SoCal
All Reviews / Los Angeles Opera / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

Down a different sort of rabbit hole: the LA Phil finally brings Chin’s Alice in Wonderland to SoCal

(Publisher’s note:  I’m proud to welcome Lauri D. Goldenhersh to the pages of All is Yar.  By training and profession, she is a mezzo-soprano, active throughout Los Angeles and a veteran of many local ensembles, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  She is also the publisher of Lauri’s List (laurislist.net), a website devoted to helping … Continue reading

LA Master Chorale joyously celebrates another important anniversary
All Reviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

LA Master Chorale joyously celebrates another important anniversary

If you’re trying to pack ’em into a concert hall for a choral concert, the usual course of action involves programming a warhorse, preferably one with a big orchestra.  Carmina Burana.  Beethoven’s 9th.  A requiem by Verdi or Mozart. The Los Angeles Master Chorale has an alternate formula that works just as well:  program something written … Continue reading

Avoiding “conductor porn”:  Gaffigan shakes things up with the LA Phil
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

Avoiding “conductor porn”: Gaffigan shakes things up with the LA Phil

The ten-week parade of guest conductors at the Los Angeles Philharmonic has begun.  First in line:  James Gaffigan, the American-born Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony and previous right hand man to Michael Tilson Thomas in San Francisco and Franz Welser-Möst in Cleveland. His program featured one favorite, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Simon … Continue reading

<i>Pictures</i> in high contrast:  Dudamel, LA Phil play Salonen, Rachmaninoff, and Mussorgsky
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

Pictures in high contrast: Dudamel, LA Phil play Salonen, Rachmaninoff, and Mussorgsky

Gustavo Dudamel’s final Walt Disney Concert Hall appearance of 2014 was all about himself, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and what they could do together.  The program featured three orchestral showpieces laden with built-in imagery for him to exploit.   No daintiness was required. No soloists got in the way.   A good time was had by all. Continue reading

Expecting the extraordinary:  a look back at six weeks of Dudamel, Salonen, and the LA Phil
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

Expecting the extraordinary: a look back at six weeks of Dudamel, Salonen, and the LA Phil

We in Southern California are so spoiled.  We’ve got amazing weather and a diverse geography with which to enjoy it; where else can you spend a couple of hours surfing in the morning and be snow skiing by lunchtime?  We’ve got Vin Scully, two Stanley Cups in three years, and two solid college football teams 13 … Continue reading

A very conscious coupling:  LA Opera’s unconventional yet compelling double-bill of <i>Dido</i> & <i>Bluebeard</i>
All Reviews / Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

A very conscious coupling: LA Opera’s unconventional yet compelling double-bill of Dido & Bluebeard

Admit it:  the first time you heard that Los Angeles Opera had decided to pair the Baroque charms of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the expressionistic horrors of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, you didn’t exactly say to yourself, “Oh yeah, that makes total sense.”  No, at best, you probably thought, “Hmmmm — that’d be interesting.”  If … Continue reading

The power and the passion:  LA Master Chorale’s moving season opener
All Reviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

The power and the passion: LA Master Chorale’s moving season opener

  Tant y a feme scet bon taire! Femme est dehors religiouse, Dedanz poignaunt e venimose . . .  (When it comes to women, men, hold your tongue! On the outside she’s religious, On the inside keen and venomous . . .) — excerpt from “The Vices of Women,” 13th Century poem, used in the … Continue reading

LA Phil season opening gala concert shows off John Williams’ musical breadth and depth
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

LA Phil season opening gala concert shows off John Williams’ musical breadth and depth

The works of John Williams are as ubiquitous as orchestral music can be in our 21st Century pop-dominated, globally diffuse society.  It’d be an interesting experiment to see if a random sampling of people on the street would be as successful identifying such classical music standards as Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik or Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as they would the … Continue reading

A colorful 2014-15 season opener for Kahane and LA Chamber Orchestra
All Reviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2014/2015

A colorful 2014-15 season opener for Kahane and LA Chamber Orchestra

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and their Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, can  almost always be counted on to present compelling programming, interesting soloists, and thoughtful interpretations.  For their 2014-15 season opener, Mr. Kahane and the orchestra rolled out more of the same, care of a new work by Cameron Patrick, an infrequently-heard bit of piano concerto sass … Continue reading

Gražinytė-Tyla surprises, deMaine stellar, Pogostkina solid:  three make their Hollywood Bowl debut in Mahler & Brahms
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2013/2014

Gražinytė-Tyla surprises, deMaine stellar, Pogostkina solid: three make their Hollywood Bowl debut in Mahler & Brahms

When I got the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s email informing me that one of their former Dudamel Conducting Fellows, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, had been selected as the orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, good for her.”  The second thing I thought was, as a diacriticly-challenged English-speaker, “Wait — how exactly do you say that name?” I reached out … Continue reading

Salonen, Wang, Hooten, and the LA Phil create their own fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2013/2014

Salonen, Wang, Hooten, and the LA Phil create their own fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl

A little bit of Esa-Pekka Salonen is better than none at all.  And so it turned out this past week with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The original plan was that the orchestra’s beloved Conductor Laureate was supposed to be at the Hollywood Bowl for two concerts, beginning Tuesday night when he and pianist Yefim Bronfman (long-time … Continue reading

Shaham’s Bartók, Denève’s Rachmaninoff pair nicely at Walt Disney Concert Hall
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2013/2014

Shaham’s Bartók, Denève’s Rachmaninoff pair nicely at Walt Disney Concert Hall

(Publisher’s note:  We’re very happy to welcome back Fiona Bryan, writer and violinist, to All is Yar for this concert review). In the short year and a half that I have lived in Southern California, I have come to expect the unexpected when it comes to programming presented by various cultural organizations around Los Angeles. The progressive landscape of … Continue reading

Visiting Santa Barbara County wineries: a primer
Drink / Reviews 2013/2014 / Santa Barbara / Travel / Wine

Visiting Santa Barbara County wineries: a primer

I regularly get asked by friends and family who are planning on going wine tasting to share my advice and recommendations with them.  After sending variations of the same emails to many of them, I decided to publish my thoughts for everyone to use and enjoy.  Let’s start with Santa Ynez Valley and Sta. Rita Hills wineries … Continue reading

Music Video:  post-April-Fool’s-Day classical music fun and silliness, care of the excellent duoW
Humor / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2013/2014

Music Video: post-April-Fool’s-Day classical music fun and silliness, care of the excellent duoW

I hope you survived April Fool’s Day without a scratch to either your person or psyche.  I witnessed some good-natured April Fool’s Day pranks, and managed to fall victim to none of it. FWIW:  I’m a big fan of silly fun, and feel that there’s not enough of it during the other 364 days of the … Continue reading