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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
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Saturday, February 14, 2015
Reginald Nasciemento, conductor. Dylan McKinstry, mandolin

Conductor Reginaldo Nacimento

LENGTH? HEAVENLY LENGTH AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Bruckner Symphony performance can be a demanding task for both the orchestra and audience, as each of the nine are long and musically wandering. But not all that wander are lost, as the Sonoma County Philharmonic proved in their Feb. 15 concert in the Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Center.

Led by guest conductor Reginaldo Nascimento the SCP took on the E Major 7th (“Lyric”) Symphony in a performance that lasted 63 minutes. The work is long but it’s a heavenly length, the conductor crafting a beguiling opening and controlling the pace throughout. Bruckner’s symphonies have protracted climaxes, often even more extended than in similar Sibelius and Tchaikovsky works, and here they had heft and fervor without bombast. Solos from Debra Scheuerman (flute) and clarinetist Jeff Chan were elegant. There is a grand and majestic arch in the first movement that was arrestingly played, and the theme in the cellos was aptly supported by the horns and violas.

In the Adagio the great C Major climax in upward steps was thunderous and the SCP gave the finale the needed solemnity and even festive humor. As often with this orchestra the releases were cleaner than the attacks. Floyd Reinhart’s tuba playing was outstanding, as were the short solo segments from trumpeter Tom Hyde. A long ovation ensued for a performance that for most of the 400 attending didn’t seem all that extended.

Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto with Dylan McKinstry opened the concert, and was a curious mixture of pungent orchestra motives, strong tremolo projection from the solo instrument and stretches of silence. There was an esoteric shimmer to the mandolin’s sound, often in 2nds and 3rds, and the Orchestra’s strings sounded well in pizzicato and with minimal vibrato. Violist Pam Otsuka played a chaste solo.

In this music that has strains of David Diamond and Rodrigo’s Aranjuez Fantasy the soloist mounted a short cadenza that grew in volume and intensity, his right hand a blur and his artistic focus palpable.

At intermission SCP resident conductor Norman Gamboa presented Mr. McKinstry with the organization’s 2014-2015 Young’s Artist Award, and the customary raffle found two delighted winners.