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Recital
DYNAMIC PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev arrived Jan. 23 at his Mill Valley Chamber Music Society recital with the repute of playing loud and fast and delivering charming introductory musical remarks to his audience. He was true to form in Mill Valley’s Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, preceding Haydn’s sple
Symphony
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 9, 2022
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so
Choral and Vocal
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS TO WEILL IN STERLING ABS MESSIAH PERFORMANCE
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, December 19, 2021
A tremendous accomplishment by the American Bach Soloists Dec. 19 was near perfect performance of Handel's Messiah in Weill Hall. Long an annual tradition at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the ABS took to the road and delivered a Christmas gift of epic proportions to an obviously thrilled and enth
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH FIFTH THUNDERS AT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 5, 2021
In a new season marketed as “Classical Reunion,” the Santa Rosa Symphony made a palpable connection with its audience at the early December set of three standing ovation concerts in Weill Hall. The December 5 concert, with 1,000 attending, is reviewed here. Vaughan Williams’ popular Fantasia on a T
Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
SYMPHONY REVIEW
American Philharmonic Sonoma County / Saturday, May 4, 2013
Cyrus Ginwala, conductor. Tom Hyde, trumpet

Tom Hyde, trumpet

PRAYERS AND REDEMPTION FROM THE APSC

by Nicki Bell
Saturday, May 4, 2013

For its final set of the 2012-13 season on May 4 and 5, the American Philharmonic of Sonoma County offered a program titled "Prayer and Redemption." The first half consisted of the prayers, the second of the joy of redemption. Guest conductor Cyrus Ginwala spoke about the pieces beforehand and then led the orchestra in a program full of orchestral color, excitement, immediacy, tight ensemble and good balance.

The performance was enhanced by the orchestra's new home at Santa Rosa High School Auditorium, which has excellent acoustics--far better than their old venue at Wells Fargo Center.

The program opened with Turina's "La Oracion del Torero" (The Bullfighter's Prayer), originally written for lute quartet, then string quartet and tonight with full string orchestra. The many strings, singing together, produced a rich and warm sound, abounding with Spanish rhythms and flavor. The violins, violas and cellos wove around each other in a shimmering dance. The tender and lovely clarity of the sound was soothing and restful.

Tom Hyde, principal trumpet in the orchestra since its beginning, and a musician of great experience, was the soloist in Hovaness's "Prayer of St. Gregory," originally written as part of an opera. From the opening string reveries, the trumpet unfolded its melody. The soloist alternated sailing above and then dipping into a sea of strings, invoking a voice from the heart. The audience looked indeed in heaven as the lights came up.

If the first half was two tasty appetizers, the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 of the second half was a hearty main course and dessert. As Maestro Ginwala said in his introduction, this symphony needs no explanation. Its mystical language is so immediate, it goes right to the soul. An hour long, the music is a feast of orchestral colors--an organic entity, luscious and constantly transforming, alive and vivid. There were many special moments from the opening with cellos and deep basses, then horns, emerging from shadow--to lovely passages with English horn, clarinet, oboe and unison string sections that soared. The music enveloped a rapt audience.

The third movement is a gorgeous love song, a lullaby giving way to powerful climaxes, building and spilling, releasing to gentleness, fading at the end to gradual silence. An exuberant dance picked up the last movement, the brass and percussion leading to a thrilling, powerful climax. The audience went nuts, jumping to its feet, stomping, yelling and whistling. It was clearly a fulfilling performance for one and all.