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Friday, February 27, 2015
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
CHAMPAGNE ORGY OF SWISS ORCHESTRA'S SOUND IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Orchestras on tour usually perform hefty display works to showoff their virtuosity and power. And so it was with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) Feb. 14 in Weill Hall. Big works, weighty display. And in a surprise the compositions by Stravinsky and Ravel in the second half did the rare th...
SYMPHONY
LENGTH? HEAVENLY LENGTH AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
A Bruckner Symphony performance can be a demanding task for both the orchestra and audience, as each of the nine are long and musically wandering. But not that wander are lost, as the Sonoma County Philharmonic proved in their Feb. 15 concert in the Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Center. L...
SYMPHONY
BOLD OPERATIC AND SYMPHONIC CONTRASTS IN SF SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Pianist Peter Serkin and San Francisco Symphony Laureate conductor Herbert Blomstedt pulled musical extremes together on Feb. 12 in Weill Hall Symphony concert where artistic experience was a defining factor. From the warmth and humor of Mozart’s F Major Piano Concerto, K. 459, to the turmoil, drama...
SYMPHONY
A BANDONEONIST WALKS INTO A BAR ...
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 08, 2015
Seeing a bandoneón player in front of a symphony orchestra reminds one of the old joke about a kangaroo walking into a high-priced bar. The bartender says, "We don't get many kangaroos in here," to which the kangaroo replies, "With these prices, I can see why." Likewise, if a bandoneónist were to wa...
CHAMBER
INTENSE STRING PLAYING IN HEALDSBURG'S ALL-POLISH COMPOSER PROGRAM
by Nicki Bell
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
A surprise program change greeted a full house in Healdsburg’s SHED Grange Room Feb. 4 when the Szymanowski Quartet from Warsaw played an all-Polish composer concert. Judging by audience comments at intermission the displacement of an arrangement of a Mussorgsky work by Penderecki’s Third Quartet w...
CHAMBER
KNOTTY CELLO MUSIC THAT WAS (MOSTLY) EASY TO LOVE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Notable cello concerts have recently graced Sonoma County with Edward Arron’s Oakmont recital and Yo Yo Ma’s sterling solo outing in Weill. So it was not surprising that Sæunn Thorsteindóttir walked onto the Schroeder Hall stage Feb. 1 with pianist Elizabeth Roe and found a packed house of non-Supe...
SYMPHONY
ZOOLOGICAL THEME RESOUNDS IN SPLENDID VSO HOGAN CONCERT
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A pair of virtuosic young pianists wowed the crowd Jan. 25 at the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra concert in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, and part of the proceeds from the mostly animal-themed music benefited the Humane Society of the North Bay. Symphony conductor David Ramadanoff warmed up the afternoon...
CHAMBER
SNAZZY CLARINET-PIANO WORKS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Often international-level instrumental duos are pickup couplings, one virtuoso’s schedule meeting another’s with the resulting desultory concerts. An exception would be the violinist Anne Sophie Mutter with her long-time partner Lambert Orkis, and the Nakamatsu-Manesse Duo. The latter played a pro...
RECITAL
MESMERIZING BACH AND CASALS IN MA'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Cellist Yo Yo Ma’s warm friendship with North Coast audiences entered a new chapter Jan. 24 in a standing-room only and stage seats Weill Hall recital. Playing three Bach Suites for solo cello, Mr. Ma could have echoed the young Liszt’s famous comment, “the concert is me.” But the concert was real...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A BRIGHT AXIS FOR ABS HANDEL AND BACH IN MARIN
by Joanna Bramel Young
Friday, January 23, 2015
American Bach Soloists’ opening concert of their 26th season, with performances of Bach’s beloved Fourth Brandenburg Concerto and Handel’s touchingly pastoral Acis and Galatea. The Fourth Brandenburg is one of six that Bach sent as a gift to the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg in 17...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Philharmonia Healdsburg / Sunday, February 22, 2015
Les Pfutzenreuter, conductor. Joel Cohen, cello. Abigail Rowland, soprano; Alexander Taite, tenor.

P. Santos and J. Koningsmark (left) watch as Les Pfutzenreuter greets Joel Cohen

HEALDSBURG PHILHARMONIA PLAYS THE RAVEN

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 22, 2015

Les Pfutzenreuter is a conductor that gets around, moving from his Ukiah base at Mendocino College and the Ukiah Symphony to festival and concert appearances with many orchestras. February 22 found him with the Healdsburg Philharmonia in that City’s Raven Theater with works of Copland and Tchaikovsky.

Cellist Joel Cohen was the featured soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Op. 33, a work he played recently with the same conductor and the Ukiah Symphony. Here the Orchestra was reduced in size, not a bad thing considering the intimate nature of the Russian’s composer’s work from 1877, but I found myself missing the heft of more strings in the original score. Mr. Cohen gave a compelling if not especially virtuosic reading of the 20-minute work, and was the only person on stage eschewing standard black concert attire.

The soloist was especially persuasive in the instrument’s lower register, but the low fingerboard positions bought intonation problems as they sporadically did with the violins. Mr. Cohen chose a relatively subdued approach to projection and vibrato, certainly a valid stance in a work that is classical and elegant rather than heaven storming. His control of pianissimo was sure and the two beguiling descending slides were decorous. Though several of the variations needed more velocity Mr. Cohen was never in a hurry, phrasing with care and blending well with Mr. Pfutzenreuter’s direction.

Surprisingly he played an encore, a set of spiffy variations by Novato composer Mark Summer on the melody “Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming,” with sections that sounded like a Bach Gigue and then some sans-bow strumming and hand slapping on the cello body. The audience of 175 loved it and extended the applause for the soloist and musicians.

In the first half Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite and an arrangement for small orchestra of the Tender Land Suite were heard. Both were for 13 Instruments and the latter featured soprano Abigail Rowland and tenor Alexander Taite. There was polished playing from concertmaster Phillip Santos, flutist Michalle Caimotto, bassoonists Beverly McChesney and Ann Hubbard, and (performing a kind of continuo and pedal point) pianist Elizabeth MacDougall. Unlike in many orchestral compositions the piano in Copland (and Shostakovich) can actually be heard through the orchestra fabric.

The familiar themes from the famous Martha Graham 1944 ballet were deftly shaped by Mr. Pfutzenreuter and the commonly played version for full orchestra that is more dense and expansive wasn’t missed.

In the 31-minute Tender Land work the two singers were amplified, a strange choice for the conductor as it upset the balance between voice and instruments. It’s rare that two non-Wagnerian singers can cover even a small orchestra, but amplification can do it! The symphonic textures here were parallel to the Appalachian Spring Suite. Ms. Rowland’s voice seemed more suited to Copland’s style than Mr. Taite, as in the duet after the playful party section the tenor tended to have a raw top at phrase endings. Copland’s vocal line often borders on Sprechstimme (speech singing) and excludes much warm lyricism.

Throughout the afternoon the ensemble and graceful playing from the winds gave color and impetus to the three works, a validation of the conductor’s programing and authority.

Impresario Robert Hayden contributed to this review.







Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Coastal Winds and Fifth Avenue Brass
Sunday, March 01, 2015
3:00 PM - Occidental
Valerie White, flute; Daniel Celidore, oboe; Jeff Chan, clarinet; Miranda Kincaid, bassoon; John Lou
Grainger: Walking Tune; Mazdak Khamda: Variations on Grainger's "Walking Tune" for wind quintet (world premiere); Nielsen: Quintet, Op. 43; Arnold: Three Shanties for Wind Quintet; John Barrows: March...
Details

CHAMBER
Cuarteto Casals
Sunday, March 01, 2015
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
Jonathan Brown, viola; Abel Tomàs, violin; Vera Martínez Mehner, violin; Arnau Tomàs, cello
Haydn: Quartet, Opus 20, No. 5; Arriaga: Quartet No. 3; Brahms: Quartet. Opus 51, No. 1 ...
Details

CHAMBER
Trio Maxim
Sunday, March 01, 2015
3:00 PM - Vallejo
Maxim Baluyev, violin; Natasha Vinetskaya, viola; Jennifer Butler, cello
Corelli: Sonatas for String Trio, Op. 4; Haydn: London Trio No. 1: Boccherini: Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid; Telemann: Sonate Canone for 2 violins (Solo No. 3); Borodin: Trio on Russian Them...
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CHAMBER
La Voce del Vento Chamber Players
Sunday, March 01, 2015
3:00 PM - Lakeport
Patricia Jekel, flute; Beth Aiken, oboe; Nick Biondo, clarinet; Ann Hubbard, bassoon; Randy Masselin
Third Chamber Music Series concert. Michael Kibbe: Woodwind Quintet (world premiere). Woodwind quintets by Haydn, Dich, Milhaud, Durocher and Persichetti TBA ...
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YOUTH
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra Ensemble
Friday, March 06, 2015
7:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Richard Loheyde, conductor. Aaron Westman, director. Guest artists: Trebuchet
Program: TBA...
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RECITAL
Mastercard Performance Series
Saturday, March 07, 2015
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Murray Perahia, piano
Bach: French Suite No. 6 in E Major; Haydn: A-Flat Major Sonata; Beethoven: Sonata No. 26 in E-Flat Major (Les Adieux), Op. 81a; Franck: Prélude, Choral et Fugue; Chopin: Scherzo No. 1 in B Minor, Op....
Details

CHAMBER
Wind Power
Sunday, March 08, 2015
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Musicians TBA
Program TBA...
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CHAMBER
Zofo Duet
Thursday, March 12, 2015
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano
Bernstein: Overture to the Opera "Candide"; Debussy: Six Epigraphes Antiques; Brahms: selections from the Waltzes, Op. 39; Balcom: Primer (seven pieces); Schubert: Fantasia in F Minor, D. 940 This co...
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CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Saturday, March 14, 2015
7:30 PM - Occidental
Lysander Piano Trio:
Itamar Zorman, violin; Michael Katz, cello; Liza Stepanova, piano

Suk: Elegy; Haydn: Trio in E major, Hob. XV:28; Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 8; Tchaikovsky: Trio in A Minor, op. 50 ...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Groups
Saturday, March 14, 2015
3:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Musicians from Youth Groups of the Santa Rosa Symphony
Program TBA This concert has an admission cost of $10 and is not covered in the season pass. It is open to Oakmont residents and their guests and is a benefit for the Santa Rosa Symphony youth educa...
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