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Monday, June 18, 2018
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 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
RECITAL
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
CHAMBER
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
SYMPHONY
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
SYMPHONY
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
SYMPHONY
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
RECITAL
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
SYMPHONY
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
CHAMBER
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
CHAMBER
TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Friday, June 15, 2018
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Hans Brightbill, cello

Norma Gamboa Congratulates Hans Brightbill After the Elgar Cello Concerto

SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND

by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018

In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns.

Conductor Norman Gamboa programmed works that have partly been on past Orchestra concerts in Sonoma County, including Frank La Rocca’s Crossing the Rubicon, the Symphonic Picture from Porgy and Bess, and the Elgar Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85.

The Elgar was the concert’s centerpiece, featuring the Orchestra’s principal cellist, Hans Brightbill. The soloist played the 1919 work in much the same way as he did in two late January performances, also directed by Mr. Gamboa, with a warm incisive sound. Tonal richness was greatest in the low registers, and Mr. Brightbill’s vibrato was varied, especially in the lyrical adagio, where he deftly increased or decreased its intensity for rich expressivity. Jackson’s acoustics are slightly dry and reverb is minimal, but the sound is direct and Mr. Brightbill’s cello line projected substantial sonority.

The plaintive theme in the second movement was reminiscent of the Schumann A Minor Concerto, with an extended and elegantly phrased cadenza. Different from Mr. Brightbill’s past readings was his consummate ability to play softly, even when the music had a faster tempo. In several places the soloist had unison phrases with the five section cellos, and his voice leading moved the Orchestra through efficacious modulations, each tinged with melancholy.

A standing ovation followed the performance’s conclusion, and a professional hug from Mr. Gamboa at the podium for Mr. Brightbill.

Costa Rican composer Julio Fonseca (1885-1950) orchestrates in a colorful manner, and his Tropical Suite: Fiesta Compestre has been a favorite of the conductor since childhood. There is a lot going on in the 12-minute work with continual section contrasts, and echoes here and there of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Viennese dance hall charm. Clarinetist Nick Xenelis and violist Robby Morales played piquant solos with an identical ascending and slowing phrase, and that pattern was also played in the cellos. The five-person percussion section was active throughout. Cutoffs were crisp.

The evening’s concert had a reduced number of high string performers (just five each first violins and violas, seven second violins) and the insouciant brass section often covered with a vivid and rousing sound. The sonic impact of the brass and four horns bordered on histrionic, but the Tropical Suite is that kind of piece. Muscular indeed.

The reviewer was unable to stay for the second half.

Events Calendar

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Mastercard Performance Series
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra (Temple Square).
Ryan Murphy, and Mack Wilberg, conductor
Program TBA Gates open at 5:30. Indoor tickets: $45-80; Outdoor Table: $40; Outdoor Lawn: $25; Outdoor Kid's tickets: $12.50...
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CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Saturday, July 07, 2018
2:00 PM - Mendocino
Stephen Prutsman, piano; Livia Sohn and Geoff Nuttall, violin
Franck: Sonata in A Major; Telemann: Gulliver Suite; Hubay: Carmen Fantasie; transcriptions of opera arias by Bizet, Verdi and Gluck...
Details

SYMPHONY
Mendocino Music Festival
Sunday, July 08, 2018
6:00 PM - Mendocino
Festival Orchestra, Alan Pollack, conductor. Livia Sohn, violin; Shawnette Sulker, soprano
Bernstein: Oversture to the Opera Candide, and songs and dances from "West Side Story"; Copland: Suite from the Ballet Appalachian Spring; Barber: Violin Concerto...
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CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
4:00 PM - Mendocino
Calder Quartet. Benjamin Jacobson and Andrew Bulbrook, violin; Jonathan Moerschel, viola; Eric Byer
Webern: Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5; Beethoven: String Quartets, Op. 135 and 74 ("Harp")...
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CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
2:30 PM - Mendocino
New Esterhazy Quartet. Kati Kyme and Lisa Weiss, violin; Anthony Martin, viola; William Skeen, cell
Haydn: Quartets in D Minor, C Major, D Major and B-flat major...
Details

OPERA
Mendocino Music Festival
Friday, July 13, 2018
7:30 PM - Mendocino
Festival Orchestra, Luçik Aprahämian, conductor. Singers include Angela Cadolago, Tonia D'Amelia, S
Cimarosa: Opera - Il Matrimonio Segreto. ...
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CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Saturday, July 14, 2018
2:30 PM - Mendocino
Festival Chamber Players. Tammie Dyer, Susan Freier and Jay Zhong, violin; Eric Kritz, clarinet; To
Bach: Trio Sonata in E-Flat Major; Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor; Mozart: Quintet in A Major, K. 581...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Marin Baroque Summer Workshop for Singers
Saturday, July 14, 2018
9:30 AM - San Anselmo
Daniel Canosa, Director. Vocal coach: Rita Lily
Music: Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus and Beatus Vir An informal performance at 3:15 pm July 14for friends and family. Advance registration is required. Registration deadline: July 1 Information: https://...
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OTHER
Mendocino Music Festival
Sunday, July 15, 2018
2:30 PM - Mendocino
Susan Waterfall, pianist and lecturer
Music and Life of Chopin...
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CHAMBER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Sunday, July 15, 2018
4:00 PM - Sonoma
Marc Schachman, oboe; Elizabeth Blumenstock and Carla Moore, violin; Kati Kyme and Toma Ilien, viola
Vanhal: Oboe Quartet in F Major, Op. 7; Mozart: G Minor Viola Quintet, K. 516; Beethoven: Sonata in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight") Preconcert lecture at 3 p.m. by Prof. Nicholas Mathew...
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