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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
A CELLO CONCERTO FROM A DISTANT WORLD
by Terry McNeill
Monday, November 10, 2014
Several surprises characterized the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 10 Weill Hall concert, the first being an almost full house on a Monday night after the same program was heard the two previous days. The important surprise was how well the audience liked the thorny Dutilleux cello concerto, Tout un...
RECITAL
ROBUST PLAYING IN KENNER'S ANGELICO HALL DEBUT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Europe-based Kevin Kenner chose a husky program for his Marin debut recital Nov. 9 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall, and elected three masterpieces from the Romantic piano literature. Schubert’s C Major “Wanderer” Fantasy has nearly disappeared from recital programs, but it was a deft openi...
RECITAL
CHAMBER MUSIC MASTERY IN VALLEJO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, November 09, 2014
The Vallejo Symphony Orchestra presented the first small group performance of its 2014-2015 season Nov. 9 in the casual setting of Vallejo’s First Presbyterian Church. Clarinetist Diane Maltester wowed the audience with stunning performances of pieces by well-known and rarely heard composers. “Dian...
RECITAL
FRANCK ORGAN WORKS SUBLIMELY PLAYED BY MANWELL IN CAS RECITAL
by Jim Harrod
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Organist Philip Manwell played a sublime recital of the major organ works of César Franck October 26 at Santa Rosa’s Resurrection Parish. The concert was a delightful treat both for those not acquainted with Franck’s organ music and for the many organists in the audience who have studied the Belgian...
CHAMBER
A BRUCH SURPRISE IN TRIO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Part of the Trio Navarro’s sterling reputation rests with the rare repertoire they perform. So it was a bit of a surprise Oct. 26 in Schroeder Hall when they programmed popular works by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Somehow Max Bruch pieces managed to sneak into the mix. The Bruch in a way stole th...
SYMPHONY
DARK SPIRITS IN SPOOKY ANDERSON AND ROE WEILL PROGRAM
by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, October 24, 2014
The Anderson and Roe piano duo have been a force in the music world for over a decade. Their arrangements and performances present virtuoso abilities and commitment to engaging audiences in the beauty and drama of classical music, juxtaposed with contemporary artists' music of other genres. The conc...
RECITAL
THREE DISPARATE SONATAS HIGHLIGHT BELL'S SR SYMPHONY BENEFIT IN WELLS
by Nicki Bell
Friday, October 24, 2014
Superstar violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Alessio Bax made the Well Fargo Center their first stop Oct. 24 on their world tour, and it was a scintillating benefit recital for the Santa Rosa Symphony. Mr. Bellʼs virtuosity and musicianship have elicited universal critical praise including swe...
RECITAL
IMPECCABLE ARTISTIC TASTE IN ANTON NEL SRJC RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Reporting on a recital by the Austin-based pianist Anton Nel is a predictably satisfying task. His playing Oct. 19 in SRJC’s Newman Auditorium mirrored a recital on the same stage nearly two years ago and showcased a high level of professionalism and artistry. Beginning with Mozart’s D Major "Dupor...
SYMPHONY
BOUNDLESS BAROQUE ARTISTRY IN LIVE OAK SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Joanna Bramel Young
Sunday, October 19, 2014
On October 19 the Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, directed by baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, appeared in the first of several concerts it is to present at Schroeder Hall in Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. The new 250-seat recital space is the perfect venue for chamber music, whi...
CHAMBER
AUTUMNAL BRAHMS IN WEILL CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT
by Nicki Bell and Sonia Tubridy
Saturday, October 18, 2014
If you were in Weill Oct. 18 you might have experienced heaven, a Brahms heaven, when New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center played an all-Brahms concert in the Hall’s MasterCard Performance series. It was late Brahms which means rich emotional expression and deep and fluid themes. The...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Saturday, November 15, 2014
Manuel Matarrita

Conductor Norman Gamboa

A PIANIST AND ORCHESTRA IN NEED OF A PIANO

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sonoma County Philharmonic conductor Norman Gamboa mounted a crackerjack program Nov. 15 to end the Philharmonic's 2014 calendar year. It was a balanced menu of dramatic orchestral playing, beguiling choral works and an intriguing piano soloist in Santa Rosa's High School Auditorium.

The evening's chief works were preceded by the charming Dvorak Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 44. For some the Dvorak might have appeared to be an opening "filler," but actually it was a feast for winds--two each oboes, clarinets and bassoons; three French horns; and an ungainly-looking contrabassoon. A cello and bass provided the needed continuo.

The music has a baroque character and was played terrifically by all, with particularly rich performances by oboists Chris Krive and Anthony Perry, clarinetists Nick Xenelis and Mary Kruzas, and Miranda Kincaid and Steven Peterson on bassoon. The delicate and blended horn ending of the Andante was lovely.

Mr. Gamboa conducted with easy command and moderate tempos, as he did throughout the Mozart A Major Concerto, K. 488, that ended the first half. The popular Concerto is always effective and joyous, but was just off the mark in several ways. In a reduced orchestra of 34 musicians, the violins had pitch and projection issues, and the piano used by Costa Rican virtuoso Manuel Matarrita was not up to a professional level. The piano's faults limited the soloist's thematic and legato projection and also affected the orchestral and piano balances.

Mr. Matarrita played the usual first-movement cadenza, but with some delicious personal additions and accents, and his trills in all movements were even and varied. Flutist Emily Reynolds played beautifully in a work that puts winds on a delightful par with the upper strings.

Mr. Matarrita was to reappear later in Beethoven's Op. 80 Choral Fantasia, but since a chorus is needed for the piece, it seemed right for Mr. Gamboa to first spotlight two choral works sans orchestra. Thirty-three singers from the California Redwood Chorale filled risers at stage rear. Under the direction of Robert Hazelrigg, they performed Rutter's Psalm 23 from his 1985 Requiem. This short work underscoring "The Lord is My Shepherd," heard often at Anglican funerals, was well sung and featured a penetrating oboe solo from Ms. Krive. John Hazelrigg was the assisting pianist.

An a cappella work, Gawthorp's "Sing Me to Heaven," was next, and the performance caught much of the expressive mystery of the rejoicing ode.

The 22-minute Fantasy begins with an extended piano introduction, and here Mr. Matarrita lavished many intriguing expressive notions on an unresponsive instrument, all the while able to meld with the sections of the orchestra and chorus that successively joined the mix. Mr. Gamboa again adopted relaxed tempos and allowed a progression of chorus and orchestral voices (flute, clarinet and bassoon) ample room to shine. The vocal sextet's singing was well defined but undistinguished. At the inspiring and forceful ending chords, the audience of 500 rose almost as one in loud acclaim.

Sonoma County's "people's orchestra" produces programs with many small but important personal touches: the conductor meeting listeners in the lobby at intermission, ample volunteer house staff and stage announcements from individual Philharmonic musicians, the now famous wine raffle, and copious home-made cookies. It has become a large musical family.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Creative Arts Series
Sunday, November 23, 2014
3:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Trio Céleste. Iryna Krechkovsky, violin; Ross Gasworth, cello; Kevin Kwan Loucks, piano
Beethoven: Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1; Variations for Piano Trio in G Major (Kakadu), Op. 121a; Trio in E Major, Op. 70, No. 2 A $15 donation is requested...
Details

CHAMBER
Ukiah Community Concert Association
Sunday, November 23, 2014
3:00 PM - Ukiah
Lee Piano Trio. Melinda Lee Masur, piano; Lisa Lee, violin; Angela Lee, cello
Janácek: String Quartet No. 1 (Kreutzer Sonata), JW 7/8, arranged for piano trio by Julian Yu; Beethoven: Trio in E Flat, Op. 1, No. 1; Mendelssohn: Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49...
Details

CHAMBER
Brave New Music
Sunday, November 23, 2014
8:00 PM - Healdsburg
Del Sol Quartet: Kate Stenberg and Rick Shinozaki, violin; Charton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello
Sculthorpe: String Quartet No. 14; Mohammed Fairouz: "The Named Angels"; Robert Erickson: "Solstice"; Elena Kats-Chernin: "Fast Blue Village" Tickets are $25 at the door or through www.bravenewmusic....
Details

CHAMBER
Trio Ariadne and Friends
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Elizaberth Joy Roe, piano; Carol McGonnel, clarinet; Sæunn Thorsteinsdøttir, cello. Other musicans
Program TBA...
Details

RECITAL
Green Music Center
Sunday, November 30, 2014
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Charles Rus, organ
Music TBA...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Santa Rosa Children's Chorus
Sunday, November 30, 2014
4:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Carol Menke, director. Cantiamo Sonoma; Wendy Tamis, harp
A Choral Celebration Concert and 30th Anniversary Reception: music for the holiday season performed by all three levels of the Chorus and by the 19-member a cappella ensemble Cantiamo Sonoma. A catere...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Friday, December 05, 2014
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma is a 19-member a cappella choir conducted by Carol Menke
Christmas music by Walton, Britten, Grieg, Howells, Tavener, Randall Thompson, Franz Biebl, Peter Warlock, and more. Tickets available at Corrick's or at the door: $15/$10 in advance (Preferred $25 i...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, December 06, 2014
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Augsburg Cathedral Boys Choir, Reinhard Kammler, director. Kinda Schari
Stravinsky: Suite from the ballet "Pucinella"; Mozart: Coronation Mass in C Major, K, 317: Six a capella selections TBA...
Details

SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Saturday, December 06, 2014
8:00 PM - Ukiah
Les Pfutzenreuter, conductor. Roy Bogas, piano
Gershwin: Concerto in F; An American in Paris; Cuban Overture...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, December 07, 2014
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis,conductor. Augsberg Cathedral Boys Choir, Reinhard Kammler, director. Kindra Schari
Stravinsky: Suite from the ballet "Pucinella"; Mozart: Coronation Mass in C Major, K. 317; TBA: Six a capella selections...
Details