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Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
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 pr...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Creative Arts Series / Sunday, June 02, 2013
Vinaccesi Ensemble: Kirk Eichelberger, Susie Fong, Sarge Gerbode, Nanette McGuiness, Hallie Pridham, Jonathan Smucker and Kindra Scharich

Vinaccesi Ensemble June 2 in Santa Rosa

RARE BAROQUE GEMS IN CREATIVE ARTS SERIES CONCERT

by Joanna Bramel Young
Sunday, June 02, 2013

A small but appreciative June 2 audience heard in Santa Rosa's Resurrection Parish a delightful buffet of baroque vocal and instrumental works performed by the five-year old Vinaccesi Ensemble of Berkeley.

Nanette McGuinness soprano; Kindra Scharich, mezzo soprano; Jonathan Smucker, tenor; and bass Kirk Eichelberger bass joined lutinist/guitarist Adam Cockerham, cellist Hallie Pridham and harpsichordist Susie Fong in the concert of works by Venetian composers. The group is named after a lesser-known composer named Benedetto Vinaccesi who flourished in the late 1600's in Venice. Like Vivaldi, he once was master di coro for the spedaletto - a home for abandoned children in Venice. Very little of Vinaccesi's compositions remain, but his extant works have the charm and sophistication of his more well known contemporariies.

The concert opened with three “Canzonette” and “Madrigaletti” by Salamone Rossi Ebreo, scored for various combinations of voices, with accompaniment by the great six-foot long arch lute, harpsichord and cello. Moving from one passion to another the voices achieved a fine blend, the singers looking at each other at the ends of phrases in order to achieve a perfectly tuned pianissimo.

Next came a Largo from Vivaldi's lute concerto, which Mr. Cockerham played impeccably on his small baroque guitar, with tasteful pizzicato cello accompaniment. On each repeat, the guitarist added elegant and precisely played ornaments, holding the audience in rapt attention. The balance between guitar and cello was exquisite.

This reviewer was pleased with the single movement instrumental interludes between the vocal pieces and they “cleared the palate” for the vocal works to come. Ms. Fong played two movements from Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas, and Ms. Pridham performed a Largo from a Vivaldi cello sonata. It would have been nice to hear more ornamentation from the cello, but otherwise it was sensitively played.

Mr. Eichelberger's long cantata “Distant from his beloved” was one of the most moving works on the program. The Vinaccesi piece-- the story of Mirtillo who is lamenting his dear Amirilli -- is full of feverish love and torment. Mr. Eichelberger has a superb voice, moving effortlessly from high to rock bottom notes in the bass clef. He brought out the dramatic and soulful words of the poetry. Recitatives contrasted with arias which changed mood from phrase to phrase. A coloratura passage would end in a perfectly placed deep low note.

Marcello's Psalm XV (from the King James Bible) was a showpiece for Mr. Smucker. Great emotional ups and downs characterized this lyrical composition. The cello and harpsichord had a very animated accompaniment, with affecting melodies interacting with the voice, In the last verse the cello played a repeating descending scale against the more inventive vocal part. Mr. Smucker has a clear, assured voice capable of evoking every changing emotion.

A cantata by Barbara Strozzi, “Beautiful eyes,” was scored for soprano and mezzo,with many ascending dissonances and intricate interplay between voices. Strozzi's “Hercules in love” was another highlight of the afternoon, sung by Mr. Eichelberger. He captured the poignant humanity of Hercules' torment over his “fickle and treacherous” love.

Monteverdi's “Why do you flee, oh Phyllis?” was a trio for mezzo, tenor and bass with continuo. The intricate intermingling of the vocal lines, rich in harmonies and aching dissonances resolved finally to a satisfying consonance to end the program.