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Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Saturday, July 21, 2018
Kyle Stegall, tenor; Nikki Einfield, soprano; Augusta McKay Lodge, Sarah Bleile and Anna Presler, violin; Phyllis Kamrin, viola; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian, piano. Apprentices TBA

E. Zivian, N. Einfield, K. Stegall June 21 at VOM Festival (J. Hill Photo)

VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER

by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018

A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism”

Prior to Saturday’s music UC Berkeley Professor Thomas Laquer lectured on composer Arnold Schoenberg’s Vienna, and the arts in the City’s first decade after 1900. Mentioned during the talk, in addition to Schoenberg, were Klimt, Mahler, Schiele, Kokoshka, Freud, Anna Mahler and Kandinsky.

Mozart’s F Major (K. 377) Violin Sonata opened the program in a deft performance by violinist Augusta McKay Lodge and pianist Eric Zivian. Mr. Zivian played his Mozart-era instrument copied from a piano of 1791, and produced a crisp bell-like sound throughout. The opening allegro with its repeated descending figures was light and fast, and Ms. Lodge’s phrasing was exemplary in the second movement’s Tema con Variazioni, and a lovely play of textures and moods.

Next was music with voice, and past Festival standouts soprano Nikki Einfield and tenor Kyle Stegall sang, beginning with two Schubert Duets, with Mr. Zivian switching to a Mendelssohn-era piano. The two Schubert works – Mignon unt der Harfner (D. 877) and Lichte unt Liebe (D. 352) - were sung with clear diction and elegant phrasing to audience acclaim.

Mr. Stegall continued solo with three Wolf Lieder and five songs of Brahms. His voice had ardor and lyricism and the poetry he conveyed, full of love and longing, was deeply affecting.

After intermission Wagner’s Im Treibhaus (from the Wesendonck Lieder) for soprano and string quartet was presented, in an arrangement by Mr. Zivian. Joining Ms. Einfield was Anna Presler and Sarah Bleile (violin), violist Phyllis Kamrin and cellist Tanya Tomkins. It was a reading of sustained and ethereal beauty, darkly anguished in places that finally rose to a philosophical end. It was a gorgeous performance.

Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet (F-Sharp Minor, Op.10) from 1908 closed the program, and seemed to come out of Wagner’s milieu with its passionate beauty. The warmth of the gut string sound, called for in the score but rarely heard today in performance, was striking. The performance generated a complex and romantic journey, seemingly always searching in throbs and surges. Ms. Einfield sang in the last two movements, “Litanei” and “Rapture.”

Each work on the program was greeted enthusiastically by the audience, with a final standing ovation that led to gratis finger foods and wine with the musicians on the auditorium’s patio. One more weekend (of three) remains for this fourth VOM Festival, with concerts listed in the Calendar Section of Classical Sonoma.