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GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored prog
SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 27, 2021
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe
HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 20, 2021
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F
Chamber
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl
Chamber
PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT FEATURES GORGEOUS VOCALISM
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The 2021 Valley of the Moon Music Festival continued on July 29 with a sumptuous online offering of French songs, concluding with the second piano quartet by Fauré, Op. 45. Such a beautiful bouquet of video performances wonderfully filmed and recorded softened the disappointment of not being able to
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SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be
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BOGAS' TENURE ENDS IN OUTDOOR GUALALA CHAMBER CONCERT
by Iris Lorenzfife
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The preconcert call that music lovers should gather at Gualala Arts July 25 to attend the final Roy Bogas and Friends Concert was not quite as dire as it sounded. It seems that a year of Covid 19 and an 88th birthday had combined to convince Mr. Bogas that he was working too hard. But with cellist P
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CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “
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RARE LANG SONGS SPARKLE AT VOM FESTIVAL VIDEO RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Unexpected pleasures are often the best. Valley of the Moon Chamber Festival presented a such a pleasure last week-a July 21 recorded performance by tenor Kyle Stegall and pianist Eric Zivian in another mini-recital (very mini-just 15 minutes!) of six songs by the nineteenth century German composer
Chamber
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience
CHAMBER REVIEW
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Thursday, June 24, 2021
Nikki Enfeld, soprano; Emily Marsh, contralto; Kyle Stegall, tenor; Edward Nelson, baritone; Allegra Chapman and Eric Zivian, piano

Tenor Kyle Stegall

LONG DISTANCE LOVE BEGINS VOM SUMMER FESTIVAL

by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Valley of the Moon Music Festival offered a 7th season preview June 24 with a stunning online concert, aptly named Long Distance Love, featuring inspired performances of Beethoven's short song cycle An die ferne Geliebte,, and selections from Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder Waltzes, Ops. 52 and 65, for vocal quartet and piano four-hands.

This delightful half-hour of pristine ensemble singing and playing was the perfect promotion for the upcoming Festival itself, which is entitled Love and Longing: Reaching Across the Distance. The Festival runs July 17 through August 1, and comprises both online zoom and in-person performances at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. After 15 months of live performance deprivation, this marks a joyous return for Festival participants and patrons alike.

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved, 1816) has the distinction of being the first song cycle as we know it, serving as the model for all of the great cycles of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and others that were to follow. For his text, Beethoven obtained a set of poems written by an acquaintance, a young Austrian doctor Alois Jeitteles. The poems describe the emotions and circumstances accompanying separation from one’s beloved, a theme presumably close to the composer's heart, and now even closer perhaps to this year's particular audience, for whom the last fifteen months of forced separation from loved ones has been a painfully odd and unfamiliar challenge. These six sparkling gems describing love's longing, joy and sadness in the context of being immersed in nature, and were brought to radiant life by the intensely romantic, thoughtful, masterful and sweet singing of tenor Kyle Stegall and the virtuosic playing of pianist (and Festival founder and director) Eric Zivian.

Although the Liebeslieder Waltzes (composed 1868- 1874) are now most familiar as literature standards for full chorus, the original intent was for them to be performed with four solo singers in quartet and four-hands piano, and they work gloriously this way. For his texts Brahms used folk songs and love poems from Georg Friedrich Daumer's collection entitled Polydora. These little songs also dwell on the difficulties of love, particularly when it is unrequited or frustrated by separation, a condition with which Brahms himself was well-acquainted.

Soprano Nikki Einfeld, contralto Emily Marvosh, tenor Kyle Stegall and bass Edward Nelson formed a robust, yet perfectly nuanced and balanced quartet, with beauty of voice and intonation, excellent German and strong intercommunication. Pianists Eric Zivian and Allegra Chapman provided a dazzling four-hand collaborative performance.
This abundance of gifts and skills made for an engrossing 30 minutes, and was the perfect teaser for the upcoming festival.

The proceedings were expertly recorded by Boby Borisov and filmed/edited by Mike Grittani, with satisfying acoustical tone and balance, lighting and atmosphere. And happily, all the festival recordings will be available to the audience for repeat listening until the end of 2021.