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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
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.