“The Oakland Symphony’s expansive ‘Notes From’ series has generally cast a celebratory spotlight on the music of geographically specific cultures,” writes Joshua Kosman in Saturday’s (2/10) San Francisco Chronicle. “But on Friday, Feb. 9, Music Director Michael Morgan took the orchestra and its patrons in a wonderfully oblique direction, with a concert at the Paramount Theatre devoted to ‘Notes From LGBTQ.’ Is sexuality in its multiple and diverse manifestations a geographical denomination, then? Surely not. But can it be a cultural marker in a field as ostensibly abstract as music? Well, yes—in certain interesting and elusive ways, which is one of the things that gave the evening its distinctive flavor.” Morgan assembled “a range of standard classical works by LGBTQ composers” including Barber, Britten, Jennifer Higdon, and Saint-Saëns. “To hear these pieces through a biographical lens involves striking a delicate balance, neither denying the facts of these composers’ lives (as earlier generations might have done) nor letting those facts overwhelm other considerations. Fortunately, the musical execution was largely first-rate throughout…. Finally there was ‘With the Right Music,’ a 30-minute song cycle commissioned by the orchestra from Tim Rosser and Charlie Sohne, and orchestrated by Matt Aument.”

Posted February 12, 2018