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Tuesday, May 17, 2022
 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Israeli Chamber Project
The Music at Oakmont concert May 5 in Berger Auditorium was attended with mostly masked patrons who were buzzing at the door and then made an effort to get close to the stage to hear the piano trio from the Israeli Chamber Music Project. Berger’s sonics were a bit of a challenge for the musicians w...
CHAMBER
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
HORNIST WILLIAM KLINGERHOFFER
The Navarro Trio, comprising regular members cellist Jill Brindel and pianist Marilyn Thompson, presented a concert May 1 in Schroeder Hall devoted to the music of Brahms, and were joined by violinist Jeremy Constant, William Klingerhoffer (horn) and violist Jenny Douglass. A small audience receive...
RECITAL
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
Guitarist Paul Galbraith
Paul Galbraith is a unique guitarist: his instrument is unique, his technique is unique, and his repertoire is unique. This was clearly evident in his Redwood Arts Council performance at Community Church of Sebastopol April 29. Mr. Galbraith’s guitar has eight strings, two more than the usual six, ...
SYMPHONY
VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Jeffre LaDeur's Cadenza in the Rachmaninoff Concerto
After an extended COVID wait the Vallejo Symphony returned to the city’s Empress Auditorium April 23 and 24 with a program that easily proved the long layoff didn’t lesson the VSO’s legendary quality. The Sunday performance is reviewed here. One of the highlights of the afternoon was the seldom-hea...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, April 15, 2022
Carol Menke and Cantiamo Sonoma April 15
A lovely and emotional rendering of Fauré's beloved Op. 48 Requiem was presented on Good Friday by Cantiamo Sonoma at Santa Rosa's Church of the Roses. The singers of Cantiamo were joined by members of the The Roses Chancel Choir and Chamber orchestra to create a powerful yet tender and memorable p...
SYMPHONY
LUSH ORCHESTRA PLAYING IN SO CO PHIL-LLOYD MEMORIAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 3, 2022
So Co Philharmonic April 3
Continuing into the post COVID era the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a set of sensual concerts April 2 and 3 in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater, rich in instrumental splendor. The Sunday afternoon concert, attended by 250 (all masked), is reviewed here. Anthony Perry’s laconic English horn solos ...
CHAMBER
DISPARATE TRIOS IN HOLLYWOOD PIANO TRIO'S 222 CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Hollywood Piano Trio April 2 at The 222
It’s often said that opposites attract, and the two piano trios performed April 2 did attract a full house at Healdsburg’s 222 Concert Series. And yes the Schumann D Minor (Op.63) and the Shostakovich E Minor (Op. 67), composed nearly a century apart, are pretty much antipodal. Played by the Holly...
CHAMBER
TANGO IMMERSION IN MILL VALLEY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 27, 2022
QSF March 27 (A. Wasserman Photo)
Quartet San Francisco, the eclectic and adventuresome Bay Area chamber ensemble, knocked the socks off its March 27 Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience with their program of Latin and Tango music. From the heated opening bars of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango through Chick Corea’s ebullient S...
RECITAL
ALLURING GLASS WORKS IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 25, 2022
M. Haimovitz/S. Dinnerstein
On paper Matt Haimovitz’s cello recital in Weill Hall March 25 appeared a bit routine– two Beethoven Sonatas, part of a Bach Suite and a Sonata, and perhaps a newly commissioned work and an encore. All of it happened, but the inclusion of virtuoso pianist Simone Dinnerstein turned the recital menu ...
LOVE AND DEATH CLOAKED IN BLISSFUL MELODY
by Steve Osborn
Monday, March 21, 2022
Composer Nino Rota
The March 20 Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured unexpected music from Ukraine, a composition without a conductor, a ballet based on a movie, and a symphonic sound that inspired countless movie composers. The concert was the first installment in a four-year series, titled “Rachmaninoff & the Hollyw...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Santa Rosa Symphony / Sunday, May 8, 2022
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor

Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong

SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY

by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022

“The most sacred duty of audiences,” said Santa Rosa Symphony Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong at their May 8 concert, “is to hear orchestral works for the first time.” The concert offered that duty in the form of a world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s “Valley of the Moon,” a programmatic work sketching specific landscapes in Sonoma County. In the words of Daugherty, who introduced the work, “Santa Rosa, this is your piece.”

Mr. Daugherty called the four movements of “Valley of the Moon” a road trip to four spots in Sonoma County: the coast, Bodega Bay, the redwoods and Jack London State Park. All four spots are well on the beaten path, a classic itinerary for tourists.

The coastal sketch, titled “Out of the Fog,” opened with a plangent oboe solo evoking the spreading fog, followed by a French horn motif signifying a gradual lifting. These solos transpired on a lush background featuring two sweeping harps and shimmering strings. A blazing trumpet appeared to mark the entrance of the sun, followed by rolling timpani and bustling strings who dropped out one by one until only the concertmaster was left, a quiescent ending to a slow-moving event.

Bodega Bay’s claim to fame is Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” a fact that the composer recognized in his title for the town’s sketch: “Shadow of the Birds.” The movie doesn’t have incidental background music, so “Shadow of the Birds” could serve as the missing score. The sketch began with an insistent rhythm from a marimba, followed by flocks of strings swooping down like birds. An intricate polyphony between the string sections and the marimba propelled the movement forward. At times, the frenzied playing verged on the athletic, with the players a blur of motion.

Redwoods rise not far from Bodega Bay, living for hundreds of years in ancient groves. Daugherty evoked their age in the third sketch by quoting from Bach’s “Air on a G String,” which explains the “Air on the Redwoods” title. A flowing rhythm suggested the passage of time, marked by gently descending snippets from Bach’s famous Air.

In contrast, the Jack London movement, titled “Call of the Wild,” was forever on the ascent. It opened with a brisk four-note motif (call-of-the-wild) that began in the French horns and passed rapidly through the other orchestral sections. Listeners began to feel like they were going somewhere, but their progress was suddenly halted by portentous full stops and a sense of foreboding. Ghostly sounds emerged from the violins as the orchestra began a long build toward the end, getting louder and faster until they exploded in an ear-splitting final chord. The playing and conducting were stupendous, as they were throughout the concert.

In recent years, the Symphony has set a high standard that it keeps exceeding. A case in point is the work that preceded “Valley of the Moon”: Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

The opening solo from flutist Kathleen Lane Reynolds was magical, transporting her listeners into the realm of myth. The melody passed seamlessly to her colleagues in the wind section, each as good as the last. Meanwhile Mr. Lecce-Chong’s minute and specific conducting gestures prompted a splendid orchestral balance. The music seemed to float on top of the air, and any forward momentum was incidental. A long pause at the end led to an appreciative “Ahhh” from the audience.

The first half was just as good, particularly Finnish violin soloist Elina Vähälä, who offered an impassioned performance of the Korngold Violin Concerto. Clad in a floor-length, bare-shouldered, flowing blue gown, Ms. Vähälä produced a consistently gorgeous and piercing tone, making herself easily heard above the orchestra. She played mostly without score but occasionally peeked at a foot-powered tablet on a nearby stand. Her bow arm moved like a ballerina’s, and her bow traversed the strings in an invariably straight line. Her stance was both solid and relaxed, and she often leaned back to emphasize important notes. Little wonder that the audience applauded warmly at the end of the first movement, before she had displayed her talents in full.

The Korngold concerto is certainly neo-Romantic, but it never descends into schmaltz. The unpredictable melodies keep it interesting, and the emotional content is sincere. In the hands of soloists like Vähälä, one can understand why it has crept back into the standard repertoire.

Speaking of standard repertoire, the opening performance of Strauss’s overture to “Die Fledermaus” was a sheer delight. Both players and conductor seemed to enjoy it immensely, and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Reprinted by permission from San Francisco Classical Voice

Events Calendar

SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Saturday, May 21, 2022
8:00 PM - Ukiah
Phillip Lenberg, conductor
Elgar: Serenade for Strings; Elizabeth Brown: Lost Waltz; Gabriela Lena Frank: Coqueteos; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88...
Details

SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:00 PM - Ukiah
Phillip Lenberg, conductor
Elgar: Serenade for Strings; Gabriela Lena Frank: Coqueteos; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88; Elizabeth Brown: Los Waltz...
Details

OTHER
Santa Rosa Symphony League
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:00 PM - Healdsburg
Russian River Ramblers
New Orleans Dixieland Jazz. David Stare, host (on banjo) $45 SRS League Members, $50 for others. Food and wine provided. Music from 2 to 4 p.m. SRS League benefit Checks to Julia Wilkinson, 6529 St...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus
Sunday, May 22, 2022
3:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Marisa Troppy, director.
Vivaldi: Credo; Dan Forest: Light Beyond Shadow; music of Florence Price and Alice Parker, and TBA Tickets will be available in May. Information available at hikingscott@yahoo.com...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Friday, May 27, 2022
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach Choir; Live Oak Orchestra. Danielle Reutter-Harrah, soprano; Heidi
Mozart: C Minor Mass ("Great") and Requiem...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach Choir; Live Oak Orchestra. Danielle Reutter-Harrah, soprano; Heidi
Mozart: C Minor Mass ("Great") and Requiem...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Marin Baroque
Saturday, June 4, 2022
8:00 PM - San Anselmo
Daniel Canosa, Director
Handel: Coronation Anthems, and the Sinfonia "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"; Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 . Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com ...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Sunday, June 5, 2022
4:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, director
A Capella Choral Music TBA, including Renaissance works The Outside concert includes wine for a pedestrian cost. Donations encouraged...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, June 11, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Mariachi Champaña Nevin
Respighi: The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome; Enrico Chapala Barba: Los Braceros (Cantata for Mariachi and Orchestra) - world premiere...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, June 12, 2022
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Mariachi Champaña Nevin
Artur Márquez: Danzón No. 2; Respighi: The Fountains of Rome, and The Pines of Rome; Enrico Chapala Barba: Cantata for Mariachi and Orchestra (Los Braceros) - world premiere...
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