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By Stephen Wigler | March 28, 1996
Here's an index to how much the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra respects Gunther Herbig: He's the only conductor, aside from BSO music director David Zinman, who's permitted to lead the orchestra in Beethoven symphonies.The German-born conductor will conduct the mightiest and last of the nine symphonies tonight and tomorrow night in Meyerhoff Hall. To open the program, cello soloist Carter Brey will join Herbig and the BSO in Haydn's Concerto in C.The concert is tonight and tomorrow night at 8: 15 at the Meyerhoff, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $18 to $51. Call (410)
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | May 26, 2007
On the long, long list of terrific, but terribly underperformed, composers, the name of Bohuslav Martinu would have to be in the upper tier. The BSO performs at 11 a.m. today at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $22-$49. 410-783-8000, baltimoresymphony.org.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 4, 1999
This review appeared in late editions of Saturday's Sun.Gunther Herbig is one of the few modern conductors as much concerned with beauty of sound as with accuracy of rhythm, intonation and of the notes themselves. There have been occasions in the past when Herbig has sacrificed dramatic excitement in his painstaking avoidance of making an ugly sound. Friday night, when Herbig conducted the Baltimore Symphony in Meyerhoff Hall, was not one of them.His performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor was as dazzling and fresh as it was beautiful.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun music critic | March 10, 2007
Mozart had a very earthy side, as any perusal of his unabridged letters will reveal, but his music invariably touches the sky. Sibelius was pretty much a down-to-earth guy, too, and that's where his music stays, with the feel of soil and rock in it. The latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program contrasts the heavenly beauty of form and melody in Mozart with the craggy topography and shadowed emotions in Sibelius. Putting each composer into perspective is Gunther Herbig, a seasoned conductor who can be counted on for calm command and a firm sense of style.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN STAFF | March 29, 1996
Last night this listener forgot that he had become jaded by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.But it's almost impossible to feel blase in the presence of this extraordinary work -- at least when it is heard in a deeply felt performance such as the one the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Chorus gave under the direction of guest conductor Gunther Herbig in Meyerhoff Hall.This German-born conductor gives us Beethoven quite different from that which we customarily hear from BSO music director David Zinman.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun music critic | March 10, 2007
Mozart had a very earthy side, as any perusal of his unabridged letters will reveal, but his music invariably touches the sky. Sibelius was pretty much a down-to-earth guy, too, and that's where his music stays, with the feel of soil and rock in it. The latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program contrasts the heavenly beauty of form and melody in Mozart with the craggy topography and shadowed emotions in Sibelius. Putting each composer into perspective is Gunther Herbig, a seasoned conductor who can be counted on for calm command and a firm sense of style.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 29, 2004
This review appeared in the later editions of yesterday's paper. Certain great works of music take us to places we wouldn't - couldn't - otherwise reach, places outside ourselves and our routine existence. You never need to pass through a security checkpoint on these journeys, because no harm is possible or even imaginable. Two such works are on this week's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program. I hated for the trip to end last night at the Meyerhoff. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, with its beguiling echoes of Mozart and Haydn and gentle hints at the dawn of romanticism to come, generates a sublime eloquence.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | May 26, 2007
On the long, long list of terrific, but terribly underperformed, composers, the name of Bohuslav Martinu would have to be in the upper tier. The BSO performs at 11 a.m. today at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $22-$49. 410-783-8000, baltimoresymphony.org.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | May 14, 1993
Old-fashioned beauty was the hallmark of the concert that the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gave last night in Meyerhoff Hall under guest conductor Gunther Herbig. This German-born musician, currently music director of the Toronto Symphony, favors an approach to music making that could not be more different than the BSO's own music diredtor, Davod Zinman.For those put off by Zinman's "science fiction" approach to the Beethoven symphonies, Herbig's interpretation of the Symphony No. 5 must have been balm to the ears.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | September 26, 1997
The kind of conductor Gunther Herbig is became immediately apparent last night in Meyerhoff Hall when he opened the Baltimore Symphony's all-Beethoven program with the "Coriolan Overture."The furious anger of the opening was fully realized, but unexaggerated; the contrast with the second theme, whose tender lyricism received an impressively quasi-vocal treatment, was masterly; and, after continuing this command of structure and detail throughout the main body of the piece, Herbig let the final chords sound at a barely perceptible dynamic level.
FEATURES
By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | February 4, 2006
If you want to clear out a room of music lovers, just throw a little Anton Bruckner into it and watch them scatter. Otherwise rational, broad-minded folks have been known to get twitchy at the mere mention of his music, downright squirmy at the sound of it. Eminent 19th-century conductor Hans von Bulow wasn't exactly alone when he dismissed Bruckner's symphonies as "the anti-musical ravings of a half-wit." Some of us have a hard time understanding such responses. After all, with Bruckner we're not talking atonality or thorny complexity.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 22, 2005
Seemingly unperturbed by the imminent approach of the White Death - and presumably already well-stocked with bread, milk and toilet paper - a goodly number of people turned out last night to hear the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra play an ear-warming program of popular pieces. Gunther Herbig, a frequent and welcome BSO guest, was on the podium at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, assuring an ease and cohesiveness of execution, not to mention refined taste. And the orchestra's exceptional principal oboist, Katherine Needleman, was the featured solo player, assuring an unpretentious burst of virtuosity, not to mention abundant musicality.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 29, 2004
This review appeared in the later editions of yesterday's paper. Certain great works of music take us to places we wouldn't - couldn't - otherwise reach, places outside ourselves and our routine existence. You never need to pass through a security checkpoint on these journeys, because no harm is possible or even imaginable. Two such works are on this week's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program. I hated for the trip to end last night at the Meyerhoff. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2, with its beguiling echoes of Mozart and Haydn and gentle hints at the dawn of romanticism to come, generates a sublime eloquence.
NEWS
July 19, 2003
On Thursday, July 17, 2003, HELEN HERBIG PFAFF, formerly of Catonsville, passed away at the age of 88. Beloved wife of the late Allen Lee Pfaff; cherished mother of Gerry Pfaff, of Germantown, MD, and Barbara (Corwin) Bishop, of Huntsville, AL. She was also the proud grandmother of Kelly (David) Lescarini and Brett Bishop. A memorial service will he held at a later date at Crownsville Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Lutheran Mission Society, 1201 S. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 4, 1999
This review appeared in late editions of Saturday's Sun.Gunther Herbig is one of the few modern conductors as much concerned with beauty of sound as with accuracy of rhythm, intonation and of the notes themselves. There have been occasions in the past when Herbig has sacrificed dramatic excitement in his painstaking avoidance of making an ugly sound. Friday night, when Herbig conducted the Baltimore Symphony in Meyerhoff Hall, was not one of them.His performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F Minor was as dazzling and fresh as it was beautiful.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC | September 18, 1999
Here's hoping that Peter Roesel gives an encore at this morning's Baltimore Symphony Casual Concert.He surely should have played one last night in Meyerhoff Hall -- after a jaw-dropping performance of Prokofiev's Second Concerto with the orchestra and guest conductor Gunther Herbig.His second concerto (1909) was Prokofiev's answer to Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto of three years earlier. Prokofiev was influenced by, and competitive with, his older contemporary.Even though it is 10 minutes shorter than Rachmaninoff's Third, Prokofiev's Second bristles with even greater difficulties.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | May 30, 1992
Two-thirds of the way through the slow movement of Schubert's Ninth Symphony there is a tremendous tutti -- a cataclysm of sound that seems to announce the Apocalypse -- that is followed by a plaintive pianissimo that hanges over an abyss.It is a tremendous moment, one that Gunther Herbig captured magnificently last night in Meyerhoff Hall in his concert with the Baltimore Symphony. It was tremendous because Herbig realized how it fit into the structure of the movement. The conductor's pacing was masterly and the great climax -- when it occurred -- sounded inevitable.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | June 14, 1999
One of my big concerns when guest conductor Gunther Herbig led the Baltimore Symphony in its first program back in September was how the orchestra was going to sound in its final concerts in June.Music Director David Zinman had finished a 13-year tenure in the previous season and the orchestra was to be without a music director for all of the 1998-1999 season and for the first few months of the following season -- until the arrival of Zinman's successor, Yuri Temirkanov, in January 2000. And only the finest orchestras survive such an interregnum without an erosion of discipline and direction.
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