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Sunday, October 21, 2018
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
LECCE-CHONG PROVES HIS METTLE WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 07, 2018
Francesco Lecce-Chong was handed two warhorses for his debut as conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and he rode them both to thrilling victory. For the first win, Brahms’ violin concerto, he owed much to soloist Arnaud Sussman, but for the other triumph, Beethoven’s fifth symphony, he and his musi...
CHAMBER
THORNY BARTOK AND ELEGANT MENDELSSOHN FOR THE BRENTANO
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In a minor masterpiece of programming choices the Brentano String Quartet played a Sept. 30 Weill Hall program with an emphasis on refinement, even with a challenging Bartok work in the mix. Dvorák’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola (Op. 75a) opened the concert with charm and gentle loveliness,...
CHAMBER
ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and aco...
RECITAL
IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series. Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long ...
SYMPHONY
SAKAKEENY'S LION AND ROSE HIGHLIGHTS SO CO PHIL'S 20TH SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Latin America the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 20th season Sept. 22 in a celebratory concert in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. Keeping to the evening’s orchestra history and past performance, conductor emeritus Gabriel Sakakeeny, who led the So Co Ph...
RECITAL
DEDIK'S POTENT BEETHOVEN AND CHOPIN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, September 17, 2018
Anastasia Dedik returned Sept. 17 to the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series in a recital that featured three familiar virtuoso works in potent interpretations. Chopin’s G Minor Ballade hasn’t been heard in Sonoma County public concerts since a long-ago Earl Wild performance, and Beethoven’s...
RECITAL
DUO WEST OPENS OCCIDENTAL CONCERT SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 09, 2018
Before a full house at the Occidental Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 the cello-piano Duo West, playing from score throughout, presented a recital that on paper looked stimulating and thoughtful. Beginning with MacDowell’s To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51), the transcription by an unan...
CHAMBER
CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium. A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadle...
CHAMBER
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
CHAMBER
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Local Concerts  
CHAMBER REVIEW
Church of the Incarnation / Friday, October 12, 2018
David Rothe organ; Ayako Nakamura, trumpet and flugelhorn; Carol Menke, soprano; Laura McLellan, cello

Trumpeter Ayako Nakamura

HEROIC TRUMPET AND ORGAN MUSIC AT INCARNATION

by Jerry Dibble
Friday, October 12, 2018

The strong connections between Santa Rosa’s musical community and California State University Chico were on display Oct. 12 as David Rothe, Professor Emeritus in the Chico Music Department, and Ayako Nakamura, trumpet with the North State Symphony, presented a concert titled “Heroic Music for Trumpet and Organ” at Santa Rosa’s Church of the Incarnation. Joining them for the finale, Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim,” were soprano Carol Menke, Incarnation Music Director, herself a graduate of the Chico State Music Department, and cellist Laura McLellan, who took on the work of an entire string section.

A concert mostly of music for trumpet and organ, no matter how heroic, can weary the ears, and the program was carefully arranged to avoid that. In tackling Telemann’s “Heroic Marches,” for example, the program separated six selections into two offerings, one Marches 4, 5 and 6 (“Tranquility,” “Armament” and “Love”) midway through the first half of the concert; and the other, Marches 1, 2, and 12 (“Majesty,” “Grace” and “Joy”) near the end of the second. In between there were excursions into solo pieces for organ (Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Minor and Buxtehude’s Praeludium in G Minor), and Arutiunian’s Elegy from 2000, played on flugelhorn.

In a similar spirit, the concert opened with Martini’s Sonata in D Major, immediately followed by Hovhaness’ equally familiar but more contemporary and often darkly haunting Prayer of Saint Gregory, composed in 1946.

The performers, especially Prof. Rothe, offered helpful and insightful comments on the composers, the structure of the music and its history, including the differences between French and German instrumental reeds and, more tellingly, the contrast between the solo organ selection from Buxtehude’s later years and the far more youthful and less troubled offering from his admirer and occasional student, Bach.

Throughout the interaction between the trumpeter and organist was smooth and professional, not surprising since the duo has presented the same concert, with only minor variations, several times in and around Chico since the beginning of the summer. As with most live performances, some runs on the trumpet were less than fully realized and got partially lost in the large space of the church. But I will always trade the risks of a live performance for a digitally perfect recording of the same pieces, especially when the performance takes place in a lovely and sonically rewarding venue like the Incarnation, with its arching old-growth redwood rafters and delicately carved wood fixtures.

One or two quibbles: first, I would have preferred to hear the final notes of the trumpet passages in the baroque pieces held out full value, with more vibrato. As it was, they were too often played staccato or marcato, with a corresponding loss of resonance, beauty and passion. That flaw vanished during the Handel, when the call and responses passages with Ms. Menke’s vocal lines provided Ms. Nakamura a more reliable model to follow.

The performance could have benefited by a bit more passion in the trumpet and organ pieces overall. Baroque music is the work of the Enlightenment, the period that brought us Kantian logic, essayistic poems in heroic couplets, and the rise of the middle class. But for that very reason this music needs more fire and fervor in the interpretation than related music, not less. At times the playing seemed workmanlike and technically precise but lacking in the ecclesiastical impulse that provided the occasion for the pieces’ composition.

Finally, there was a need of amplification for the voice and cello in the final work. Both tended to be overpowered by the organ and trumpet. Handel’s Let the Bright Seraphim is a wonderful piece of music, particularly as a finale for the concert, but much of its power depends on the equal aural presence of all the parts.

Events Calendar

RECITAL
Green Music Center
Sunday, October 21, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Steven Lin, piano
Mendelssohn: Introduction and Rondo Capricioso, Op. 14; Schumann: Kreisleriana; Op. 16; Gershwin: arrangements; Beethoven: E Flat Sonata, Op. 31, No. 3: Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Sunday, October 21, 2018
2:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, conductor
Roses Signature Concert Series. An cappella choir concert with music by Byrd, Lassus, Palestrina, Eriks Esenvalds, Morten Lauridsen, Bob Chilcott and TBA. No admission charge, but free will donation ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Venice Baroque Orchestra
Saturday, October 27, 2018
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Anna Fusek (recorder), Massimo Raccanelli Zaborra (cello) and Giampiero Zanocco (violin), soloists
Music of Vivaldi (TBA)...
Details

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Saturday, October 27, 2018
8:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Dylana Jenson, violin
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 93; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Op. 35, in D Major...
Details

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Sunday, October 28, 2018
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale, conductor. Dylana Jenson, violin
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35; Shostakovich: Symphony in E Minor, No. 10 (Op. 93)...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, November 03, 2018
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor; Sharon Isbin, guitar
Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto; Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1; Kodály: Dances of Galánta; Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story"...
Details

CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Saturday, November 03, 2018
7:30 PM - Occidental
Atos Trio. Annette Von Hehn. violin; Stefan Heinemeyer, cello; Thomas Hope, piano
Rachmaninoff G Minor Trio (No. 1), Op. Post; Arensky: D Minor Trio, Op. 32; Deprik: There Folk Dances, Op. 13b; Shostakovich: Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67...
Details

OPERA
College of Marin
Saturday, November 03, 2018
7:30 PM - Kentfield
College of Marin Orchestra and Chorus. Paul Smith, director. Singers TBA
Birdwhistle: Opera - The Mark of the Goat; Britten: Opera - The Little Sweep Free admission...
Details

CHAMBER
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society
Sunday, November 04, 2018
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
ATOS Piano Trio. Annette von Hehn, violin; Stefan Heinemyer, cello; Thomas Hoppe, piano
Rachmaninoff: G Minor Trio; Shostakovich: Trio No. 2, Op. 40; Arensky: D Minor Trio, Op. 32; Alexander Veprik: Three Folk Dances, Op. 13b...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, November 04, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Sharon Isbin, guitar
Kodaly: Dances of Galanta; Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto; Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1; Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story...
Details