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 Recent Reviews
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 ...
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 ...
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...
SYMPHONY
A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, August 02, 2014
The audience filing into Saturday's National Youth Orchestra concert at Weill Hall in Rohnert Park was greeted by the sight and sound of 120 teenaged musicians furiously warming up and clad in a patriotic outfit of red pants and sneakers, white shirts and … black blazers, ties and scarves? So much f...
OPERA
A PROVOCATIVE DON GIOVANNI AT MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 18, 2014
At each Mendocino Music Festival a key evening is given over to a staged opera in the big tent, and last year Rossini’s frothy “Il Signor Bruschino” was an audience hit but hardly comprehensive operatic fare. Times change. Mozart’s weighty opera Don Giovanni was given a propulsive but often confus...
RECITAL
UNHURRIED COMMAND IN MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Pianist Robert Schwartz opened Mendocino Music Festival’s piano series July 17 with a set of works in a recital made for keyboard connoisseurs. His success was doubly gratifying for the artist as he had played on the same stage at last year’s Festival, but had to cancel most of the recital due to il...
SYMPHONY
A MUSIC OFFERING IN A SONIC MIXTURE
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Bach’s iconic D Minor Clavier Concerto was the centerpiece in the fourth day of Mendocino Music Festival events July 16 in the big tent concert hall, with San Francisco-based Stephen Prutsman the featured artist. Conducting a chamber orchestra of ten from a lidless piano, Mr. Prutsman took fast te...
Local Concerts  
RECITAL REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Saturday, August 23, 2014
James David Christie, organ

Organist James David Christie

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 mechanical action instrument spoke with an outstanding clear and authentic Baroque organ voice.

Without fail throughout the afternoon’s program Mr. Christie’s clear, articulated touch in both the manuals and pedals demonstrated a mastery of accuracy, clarity, and uncompromised precision essential for the correctly desired execution of Baroque music.

Although the Schroeder organ is not a large instrument, the voice of each rank of pipes is so distinctive that large combinations of stops are not necessary to produce the desired artistic effects. Mr. Christie chose a program that demonstrated the beauty of each stop of the organ alone and in dialogue with others. This does not require the massive sound typically heard in familiar organ music.

The artist chose six organ works, both familiar and rare, from the Baroque repertory of northern Europe, 1562 to 1750. These were: Praeludium in C Major, Georg Böhm (1661 - 1733); Camphuysen manuscript (Anon. Dutch 16th century) Daphne (3 variations); Ricercar, Sweelinck (1562 - 1621); Praeludium in G Minor (BuxWV 163) Buxtehude (ca 1637 - 1707); Ciaconna in B-flat Major, Johann Bernhard Bach (1676 - 1749); and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (BWV 565), Bach (1685 - 1750).

The Böhm Praeludium got everyone’s attention with the opening pedal and manual ascending and descending cadenzas, played on organ plenum and reeds, followed by a breathtaking toccata and fugue of leaping octaves in both hands and feet. Each note in this complex composition could be distinctly heard, even though the full organ was utilized in its execution.

The anonymous Camphuysen manuscript, one of the oldest surviving organ music pieces set to a written score, displayed the simple beauty of tune played with only one and two stops, typical of Renaissance secular music. Sweelinck’s Ricercar, a composition of recurring motifs in four singing voices, evolved under the organist’s hands into a fugue, in which the marching motives built in intensity as organ stops were added.

Buxtehude’s richly ornamented contrapuntal Praeludium consists of four toccata movements enclosing three fugues, each of which end without a resolving chord before moving ahead on into the next toccata. This was played with perfectly even cadence, rhythm, and appropriately rich registrations. The very delicate Ciaconna, similar to a passacaglia, is a sweet three quarter time gigue, played on each of the beautifully voiced flute stops of the organ, solo and in combination. Mr. Christie’s careful choice of registration provided freshness to each repetition of the motif.

Bach’s familiar yet always welcome Toccata and Fugue in D minor closed a majestic and instructive program. It was first published in 1833 through Mendelssohn’s efforts. It became quickly popular and is one of the most famous works in the repertoire, although now there is scholarly dispute as to Bach‘s authorship. Once again the dense composition of the work did not obscure the clear and precise articulated touch necessary for the experience of the composer’s intention.

It is important that we note the special characteristics of the Schroeder organ, especially in relation to the authenticity of the program played. The instrument was largely hand built by John Brombaugh in the exact manner of the Dutch and north German baroque instruments still existing today. The organ has a mechanical, or "tracker" key action rather than an electric key action. Only the blower supplying the wind is electric. Tracker-action mechanics allow the organist to “feel” whenever each pipe opens and speaks. The touch of the keys is very sensitive and requires virtuoso skill to effectively perform the music. That skill was everywhere evident in the magical performance by Mr. Christie.


Events Calendar

RECITAL
Green Music Center
Sunday, September 14, 2014
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Juho Pohjonen, piano
Program TBA...
Details

CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Saturday, September 20, 2014
7:30 PM - Occidental
Swensen-LaDeur Duo With Special Guest Brenden Guy
Debussy Sonata for Violin and Piano (1917) Images Book II for Piano( 1907) Bartok Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1938) Sonata for Solo Violin (excerpts) (1944) ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Saturday, September 27, 2014
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Michael d'Arcy, violin
Kabalevsky: Overture to Colas Breugnon; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 i G Minor, Op.63; Tchaikovsky: Synphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 ("Patétique")...
Details

SYMPHONY
Marin Symphony
Sunday, September 28, 2014
3:00 PM - San Rafael
Alasdair Neale,conductor. Zuill Bailey, cello
Bernstein: Overture to the opera "Candide"; Saint Saëns: Concerto For Cello No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33; Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Sunday, September 28, 2014
2:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Michael d'Arcy, violin
Kabalevsky: Overture to Colas Breugnon; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 ("Pathétique")...
Details

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
Program TBA...
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