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Recital
ECLECTIC DRAMATIC PROGRAMING IN SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Marin-based pianist Laura Magnani combined piquant remarks to an audience of 100 Sept. 11 with dramatic music making in a recital at Spring Lake Village’s Montgomery Center. Ms. Magnani’s eclectic programming in past SLV recitals continued, beginning with three sonatas by her Italian compatriot Sca...
Chamber
PERFORMER AS PROMOTER: CLARA SCHUMANN AND MUSICAL SALONS CLOSE VOM FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 28, 2019
The July 28 closing performance of the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival could have been subtitled "Friends", as it was devoted to works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, and those of their friends and protégés Brahms and virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom Clara toured extensively...
Chamber
ROMANTIC CHAMBER WORKS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Now in its 5th season the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented July 27 a concert titled “My Brilliant Sister,” featuring Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s compositions for combinations of voice, fortepiano and strings. Fanny and her brother Felix were close, and Felix occasionally published ...
Symphony
ROMANTIC DREAMS AT THE MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kayleen Asbo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Romanticism, contrary to many popular perceptions, wasn’t simply about diving into the habitat of the heart. Romanticism began as a literary movement that elevated the power of nature as a transcendent force and sought with keen nostalgia to rediscover the wisdom of the past. The Romantics in both l...
Chamber
CHAUSSON CONCERTO SHINES IN A VISIONARY'S SALON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Ernest Chausson’s four-movement Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet (1891) is neither concerto nor sonata nor symphony, but it somehow manages to be all three, especially when played with fire and conviction by an accomplished soloist. Those incendiary and emotional elements w...
Chamber
EUROPEAN SALON MUSIC CAPTIVATES AT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Two stunning programs of 19th and 20th century chamber music were presented on July 21 and 28 as part of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival at the Hanna Center in Sonoma. Festival founders and directors pianist Eric Zivian and cellist Tanya Tompkins were both on hand to contribute brilliantly at ...
Chamber
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATIONS IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 20, 2019
A Lovely summer afternoon in Sonoma Valley, an excellent small concert hall, enthusiastic audience, exciting musicians and creative programming with interesting story lines. All these were combined July 20 at a Valley of the Moon Festival concert titled “An Italian in Paris.” This is the fifth seaso...
Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festival’s 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Redwood Empire AGO / Sunday, August 28, 2016
Paul Blanchard, organ

Organist Paul Blanchard

NORTH GERMAN CHORALES WERE MUSIC FOR THE SOUL AT AGO RECITAL

by James Harrod
Sunday, August 28, 2016

Organist Paul Blanchard played an outstanding and instructive recital August 28 at Santa Rosa’s First Presbyterian Church. It was the fourth and last in a series of summer Sunday recitals featuring organists of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and underwritten by the Church.

“Music for the Soul - The Art of the North German Chorale” was an appropriate title for Mr. Blanchard’s recital, which opened with Mendelssohn’s D Minor Sonata, Opus 65, No. 6. The work based on the German hymn tune “Vater unser in Himmelreich” by Martin Luther. The Sonata was followed by a collection of six Bach chorale preludes, and one chorale prelude by Samuel Scheidt.

Mr. Blanchard introduced the program by asking the audience to stand and sing from the hymnal the hymn “Our Father who Art in Heaven” on which the sonata is based. The organist then played the multipart sonata (Chorale, Fuga, and Finale) with flowing note-perfect confidence, observing organ registration and phrasing authentic to the composer and the instruments of his time.

The short Bach works by demonstrated how the great composer used repeating short motifs within the preludes to express the moods of the chorales: “Have Mercy, Lord” (BWV 721); “Come Holy Ghost” (BWV 631); “O Lamb of God” (BWV 618); “I call to Thee” (BWV 639); “We are here, Lord Jesus” (BWV 633); and finally “Christ Lay in the Bonds of Death” (BWV 625). These Preludes were played with clarity and simplicity using both perfect Baroque manual touch and selection of organ stops. The beautifully varied registration chosen by the organist made each prelude uniquely expressive.

The less familiar Scheidt “Cantio Sacra,” SSWV 106, based on the tune “Warum betrübst du Dich,” closed the program. This is a 12-verset composition from an earlier musical time, and once again Mr. Blanchard’s educated choice of organ stops made each of the sections fresh to the ear.

The performer, Music Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Healdsburg, gave the audience excellent verbal explanations of the music, bringing everyone from the late Renaissance through the Baroque and into the Romantic musical era in reverse chronological order! It was a very satisfying recital.