Reviews

The final concert in the SFS Centennial Season

Thursday, June 28, 2012
.. it was an opportunity to experience the talents of the Chorus performing on their own. (about Ligeti)

S.F. Symphony Closer: A Ninth to Remember

Thursday, June 28, 2012
... majestic performance by MTT and the orchestra, and something even beyond that by Ragnar Bohlin's Symphony Chorus....

Emotional Fervor in the Ode of Joy

Thursday, June 28, 2012
... And when the finale arrived, buoyed by a tremendous contribution from Ragnar Bohlin's Symphony Chorus, Thomas' energized approach paid off in full. It's rare to hear Schiller's "Ode to Joy" proclaimed with such a sense of moral urgency or emotional fervor, not to mention such choral splendor. ...

Examiner: The Mavericks premieres at Davies

Sunday, March 18, 2012
... Bates’ low-key treatment of this major milestone in the history of communication seemed just the right approach to take to the subject matter. The performance unfolded with the calmness of life proceeding at its own pace while this technological revolution was ensuing ...
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SF Chronicle Review of Mass Transmission

Saturday, March 17, 2012
... Thursday's program, part of the American Mavericks Festival, opened with an even graver disappointment, the premiere of Mason Bates' commissioned "Mass Transmission." Scored for chorus, organ (the expressive Paul Jacobs) and electronica, this offers a meditation on communications technology, I guess, with texts based on the first experiences of ordinary Europeans with early 20th century wireless radio. The premise is evocative, but the texts themselves are drab ("So good to hear your voice. I miss you mum!"), and Bates' settings opt for bland pop harmonies and equally bland choral textures. The result, even in a seamless performance conducted by Donato Cabrera, was tissue-thin. ...
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LA Times Review: Bates' Mass Transmission

Friday, March 16, 2012
... In terrific texts, taken from the Dutch Telegraph Office and from the Dutch East-Indies, a mother in Holland and her child in Java anxiously communicate through early technology, the distance miraculously bridged but also exaggerated in the process. The San Francisco Symphony Chorus lovingly intoned these texts, which organist Paul Jacobs underscored with drones. ...
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Innovative Transmissions

Thursday, March 15, 2012
... The virtuoso toccata and stop work of Paul Jacobs on the organ, the gorgeous voices of Ragnar Bohlin’s San Francisco Symphony Chorus conducted by Donato Cabrera, and the sonic contributions from Bates’ array of laptop and speakers provided a world of sounds equal to any symphony. ...
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A radiant 'Requiem'

Saturday, November 19, 2011
... Ragnar Bohlin's Symphony Chorus, singing with impeccable breath control and command of dynamics, began the piece in near-silence, letting Brahms' harmonies seep into the hall in a disembodied pianissimo. ... There were still other delights to come - a thunderous but clear-toned account of "Denn alles Fleisch," a generously lyrical rendition of "Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen." ...
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Review: Brahms' Requiem emits light and peace for the living at San Francisco Symphony

Friday, November 18, 2011
... Tilson Thomas's shaping of materials was quickly evident: In the opening movement ("Blessed are they that mourn") a gentle tether seemed to connect the noble flow of the bass viols to delicate harp tones and the golden top of the chorus. You heard the detail; at the same time, you heard the structure ... ... The chorus (prepared by Ragnar Bohlin, its director) blended and glowed with subtlety and conviction throughout the performance ...
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Un-Teutonic German Requiem

Thursday, November 17, 2011
... yet another grand performance by the orchestra and an unforgettable one by Ragnar Bohlin's brilliant SFS Chorus ... Following the magical, whisper-quiet opening by the Chorus (when did Davies Symphony Hall's acoustics improve this much?), the low strings embracing the first sopranos' angelic sound, there was that difference, nothing major, more a matter of shades. It was a softer, more lyrical, more romantic sound that's the "standard." ... MTT's interpretation, and the glories of the SFS Chorus were in their full flower. ...
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