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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, March 28, 2015
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Kathleen Lane Reynolds, flute

K. Reynolds Receiving Flowers March 28

HARMONIC CONVERGENCE IN PHILHARMONIC CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 28, 2015

Concluding a stellar season March 28 in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a concert rich in orchestral symmetry, mixed with a piquant flute concerto.

The symmetry began with the afternoon’s initial work, Carlos Escalante Macaya’s five-part “Ineluctble…El Tiempo.” Composed as a dance suite, the work spanned 30 minutes had a sensuous mix of color, especially from the winds, harp (Dan Levitan) and a six-person percussion section. Led by timpanist Anthony Blake, the sextet included Joseph Long (snare drum and others); Al Sinerco (glockenspiel); Jocelyn McCord (vibraphone); Walt Bodley (bass and tom tom drums) and Mary Greenberg (blocks and shakers).

Mr. Escalante, whose clarinet concerto was played in 2013 by the SCP, has a penchant for florid orchestration that had touches of minimalism (Reich’s “Music for 18 Instruments”) juxtaposed with lively themes sweetened by flute solos. The lovely Bourée had a beguiling pensive character, and the often tricky rhythms were deftly managed by conductor Norman Gamboa. There were several intense climaxes punctuated by the playing of three trombones and a solo by bassoonist Miranda Kincaid, with elegant oboe playing from Chris Crieve. The conductor shaped everything well and seldom looked at the score.

Prokofiev’s second Suite from the ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” Op. 64, concluded the first half. In seven parts the music from the mid 1930s was played with all the composer’s trademarks of the time: lush harmonies, brilliant brass, long thematic lines and limpid instrumental duos with solo violinist Pam Osuka.. The short references to Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony from 1936 were underlined in a duet from bassoonist Miranda Kincaid and flutist Emily Reynolds, and allusions to Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” were in this princely music. Mr. Gamboa directed with mastery the shimmering fabric and potent climaxes of the long Suite that never felt long.

In the finale (Romeo and Juliet’s Grave) tenor saxophone Ken Ward and celeste player Alice Chan were standouts. There was a sad texture to this section, punctuated by a piccolo solo in the long decrescendo at the end.

Following intermission Liebermann’s Flute Concerto, Op. 39, was played, and is a popular (for a flute concerto) 1992 work that featured Sonoma County virtuoso Kathleen Lane Reynolds. Some might say “local girl makes good” but such a comment is inane, as Ms. Reynolds is a mature musician that has played splendidly for years with the Santa Rosa Symphony. The choice of the Liebermann was a savvy program selection as the work is harmonically grateful and made the most of the soloist’s formidable interpretative command.

Parts of the three-movement Concerto reflect movie music, not a bad thing from masters such as Korngold, Copland and Liebermann. Ms. Reynolds played the high-register runs and surprise turns in the Moderato with easy aplomb, giving a feeling of vistas opening. There were captivating and balanced duets between the solo flute and the orchestra, and Mr. Gamboa's hand was light when it needed to be. In the lyrical Adagio connections with the “Romeo and Juliet” Suite were evident in modulations, generous resonance and the Ms. Reynolds’ sound that oddly approximated the oboe at times. This savory playing had perfect breath control, leading up to meditative and long-held final note.

The concluding racehorse Presto featured the soloist’s quick upward phrases and accurate octave skips. I have heard the movement played faster with mastery equal to that of Ms. Reynolds, but the acceleration to the end was imposing and brought the audience of 400 to their feet with loud applause.

Of course bundles of flowers were quickly brought to Ms. Reynolds, some by Santa Rosa Symphony colleagues, and was indication of the the esteem with which they hold her artistry.