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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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 Recent Reviews
RECITAL
THE BALLADE OF JUHO POHJONEN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Planning a piano program around a single theme or name can be tricky because cutesy connections can easily displace artistic merit. Fortunately, Juho Pohjonen's Sept. 14 recital in the inaugural "Sundays at Schroeder" concert was a textbook example of a successful theme--ballades--supported by wonde...
CHAMBER
POTENT STUDENT WORKS IN ARIADNE TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, August 24, 2014
On a lovely August 24 afternoon the Trio Ariadne played the seventh of ten concerts inaugurating the opening of SSU’s Schroeder Hall in the Green Music Center. It was part of a celebratory splash to introduce the music community to this little jewel of a hall, the 250-seat capacity and acoustics pe...
CHAMBER
ACOUSTIC CLARITY AT LAST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
After years of chamber music frustration in Sonoma State University's Ives and Weill halls, the Trio Navarro basked in acoustical clarity Aug. 24 at their debut concert in the university's new Schroeder Hall. The acoustics in Weill before small audiences, and with lush romantic chamber music, made ...
CHAMBER
FACULTY AND COMMUNITY MUSICIANS JOIN IN SCHROEDER CELEBRATION
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Though many of the inaugural Schroeder Hall concerts had larger audiences than the Aug. 24 faculty and community musician event, few of them had such lovely music on display. Some of the best were first, with ravishing music from SSU guitarist Eric Cabalo and Santa Rosa Symphony violinist Eugenie W...
CHAMBER
VOCAL PYROTECHNICS LIGHT UP SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 24, 2014
What could end a wildly successful 10-concert inaugural weekend in SSU’s new Schroeder Hall? A resounding concert of manifold brass, organ and voice that turned out by a wide margin to be the overall audience favorite. The long Sunday evening event put on display every piece of Schroeder’s vaunted...
RECITAL
KAHANE RECITAL HELPS INAUGURATE SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Jeffrey Kahane returns frequently to Sonoma County in conducting and concerto performance, but rarely in recital. Two past solo events come to mind, a "fantasy" program where the Copland outshone the Schumann and Chopin, and an uneven concert capped by Chopin's F Minor Ballade. A jammed Schroeder ...
RECITAL
HERE COMES THE ORGAN!
by James Harrod
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The rich sounds of Dutch Renaissance organ flutes, reeds, and mixtures sounded in Sonoma County August 23 when James David Christie inaugurated the new Schroeder Hall pipe organ installation at Sonoma State University. Under the performer’s experienced and sensitive touch, the Brombaugh Opus 9 mech...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A FITTING OPENING FOR SCHROEDER HALL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, August 23, 2014
A choral concert by the Sonoma Bach Choir was a fitting opening for the new Schroeder Hall at Sonoma State University on Aug. 23. After all, the idea for the Green Music Center came many years ago from Don Green, who at the time was singing in the Bach Choir, conducted then and now by Bob Worth. Th...
CHAMBER
UBER VIOLISTS AT MUSIC IN THE VINEYARDS
by Steve Osborn
Friday, August 08, 2014
Full disclosure. I'm an amateur--very amateur--violist, so Friday's Music in the Vineyards concert in Napa Valley was of particular interest to me. The program featured two sextets with prominent viola parts; a trio for viola, flute and piano; and the pièce de résistance: a quartet for four violas. ...
CHAMBER
PIANO SONOMA JAMS IN FINAL WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 03, 2014
PianoSonoma concluded its artist-in-residence performances August 3 in a sparkling Weill Hall concert where mostly new music overshadowed conventional fare. Mendelssohn’s popular D Minor Trio began the program in a workmanlike performance that never quite caught fire. Tempos throughout were judici...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Sunday, September 28, 2014
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Michael d'Arcy, violin

Conductor Norman Gamboa

INTOXICATING ORCHESTRAL SONORITIES

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 28, 2014

For the first Sunday afternoon concert of their 16th season, on Sept. 28, the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented an all-Russian program that spotlighted intoxicating orchestral sonorities and heroic conducting from Norman Gamboa. He opened with a stunning performance of Kabalevsky's snappy overture to the opera "Colas Breugnon." This five-minute romp is reminiscent of Shostakovich's "Festival Overture," written 16 years later.

Renowned Irish violinist Michael d'Arcy followed with a focused but small-scaled reading of the soaring Prokofiev Second Concerto, from 1936. The tempos throughout were judicious, and balances favored the low strings, making some of his high notes nearly inaudible. Mr. d'Arcy began the Andante second movement eloquently, his line emerging from silence into a mournful theme of majesty, juxtaposed with the bassoon playing of Miranda Kincaid and Steven Peterson, and Nick Xenelis's richly hued clarinet. It was cantilena of a high order.

The swirling marcato finale was effective but lacked frenzy and power.

Power and pathos were in evidence after intermission with Tchaikovsky's sixth and last symphony, the "Pathétique." Mr. Gamboa adopted a slow tempo at the beginning, emphasizing the extraordinary sound of a low bassoon solo rising through the murk of the basses. He was in no hurry to lessen the impact of the prismatic themes and the many climaxes. The viola section could often be heard over the violins, perhaps a feature of Santa Rosa High School Auditorium's bright acoustics.

Standouts in the slow waltzes of the Allegro con Grazia were Mr. Xenelis, flutists Emily Reynolds and Debra Scheuerman, and the trombone section. Mr. Gamboa built the sonorities carefully, at times holding back in tiny ritards to give this sometimes convoluted score control and shape.

As usual in public performances, the last chords of the scherzo-like third movement (punctuated by timpanist Walt Bodley and blaring trumpets) elicited loud applause, and the conductor stood stoically before beginning the lament of the unique finale. Tchaikovsky's fourth and fifth symphonies are "fate" works that end in triumph, but the conclusion of the sixth is the harbinger of defeat and disaster. Successive notes came in alternation in first and second violins, whose seating on opposite sides of the stage maximized the effect. Even the soft gong stroke could be distinctly heard. The repetition of a new melody in a major key become obsessive, another marker of sadness that was touchingly played.

The nearly full house greeted the performance with a loud ovation, certainly due to the ensemble's capable playing and Mr. Gamboa's adroit direction.

Events Calendar

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
7:30 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
Bernstein: Overture to the opera "Candide"; St. Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33; Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique...
Details

RECITAL
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Saturday, October 04, 2014
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Pandit Laxmi Tewari, North Indian Classical singer. Other musicians TBA
Program TBA...
Details

RECITAL
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Friday, October 10, 2014
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
William Kanengiser, guitar
De Falla: La Danza del Molinero; Sor: Fantasie Elegiaque, Op. 59; Tárrega: Marieta, Lágrima, Maria; Turina: Fantasia (Sevilliana); Ernesto Garcia de Leon: Sonata No. 1 (Las Campanas); Léo Brouer: Two ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, October 11, 2014
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Strauss: Till Eulwnapiegel's Merry Pranks; Beethoven: E-Flat Piano Concerto (No. 5), Op. 73; Wagner: Overture to the Opera Tannhäuser; Bartok: Suite from "The Miraculous Mandarin"...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, October 12, 2014
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat, Op. 73; Wagner: Overture to the Opera Tannhäuser; Bartok: Suite from the Miraculous Mandarin...
Details

CHAMBER
El Mundo
Sunday, October 12, 2014
4:00 PM - Occidental
Richard Savino, conducter. El Mundo performers TBA
"Kingdoms of Castille". Composers include José de Orejón y Aparicio (Peru); Santiago de Murcia (Spain/Mexico);, Rafael Antonio Castellanos (Guatemala); José Quiroz (Guatemala) and Andrea Falconieri (...
Details

CHAMBER
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society
Sunday, October 12, 2014
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
Alexander String Quartet. Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz, violin; Paul Yarbrough, viola; Sa
Mozart: Quartet in D Major, K. 499 (Hoffmeister); Kodaly: Quartet No. 2, Op. 10; Beethoven: Quartet, Op. 59, No. 1 (Razumovsky)...
Details

CHAMBER
Dominican University
Sunday, October 12, 2014
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello; June Choi Oh, piano
Beethoven: Sonata in F Major, Op. 5, No. 1; Grieg: F Minor Sonata, Op. 36; Prokofiev: Sonata in C Major, Op.119...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, October 13, 2014
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Wagner: Overture to the Opera Tannhäuser; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat, Op. 73; Bartok: Suite from "The Miraculous Mandarin"; Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks...
Details

RECITAL
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, October 16, 2014
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Einav Yarden, piano
Bach: English Suite No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 807; Ravel: Valse Nobles et Sentimentales; Schubert: Sonata in G Major, D. 894...
Details