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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
Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
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
Chamber
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
Chamber
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 “
Chamber
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
ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia
CHAMBER REVIEW
Devon House Garden Concerts / Saturday, October 9, 2021
Elizabeth Prior, viola; Joseph Edelberg, violin; Chloe Tula, harp, Jesse Barrett, oboe, Rebecca Roudman, cello; Stacey Pelinka, flute

SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT

by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021

Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series.

The Marin Terra Linda program featured violinist Joseph Edelberg; Jesse Barrett, oboe; flutist Stacey Pelinka; Rebecca Roudman, cello; Ms. Prior and guest artist harpist Chloe Tula. All but Ms. Tula are Santa Rosa Symphony members, and Ms. Prior is also a founding member of the Farallon Quintet. The 50 guests in the garden found comfortable seating on a variety of sofas and chairs.

The acoustics from the gazebo were surprisingly good, and a neighborhood chorale of chirping crickets swelled into hearing each time the music faded, enhancing the richness of the outdoor experience.

Pastorale, the first movement of Debussy’s intricate, polytonal Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, opened the evening. The performance was melancholy and sweetly uplifting. In 1915 Debussy was vacationing in a Normandy coast cottage, where he experienced a burst of creativity, writing three seminal works for cello, violin, flute, viola and harp. This concert’s Sonata, at that time a unique alchemical marvel, was played elegantly and with gracious ensemble.

Next was Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Oboe Quartet from 2004, scored for oboe, viola, violin, and cello, a fortuitous discovery for Jesse Barrett, who had not known the work before Ms. Prior spotted the score at Marin’s Magic Flute music store, and presented it to him. He in turn suggested they perform it at her Devon House series. Rounded out by Ms. Roudman’s resonant cello and Mr. Edelberg’s assertive violin, the quartet’s two movements balanced musical abstraction with expressiveness. As performed, it was an exuberant exploration of sound, juxtaposing quiet, suspended moments with dynamic rhythms, pairing string tremolos with the oboe’s mournful singing, and layering unison pizzicato with drawn-out melodies. It was a scintillating performance and the audience showed its appreciation with sustained applause.

In remarks to the audience Ms. Pelinka explained that Mozart wrote his Quartet for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello in D Major, K. 285, in 1777, but before he had a full appreciation of the flute as an instrument. “You can hear parts of his operas [here],” she said, adding that “in this quartet, the violin line gets to be the bird, rather than the flute.” It was heavenly, joyfully flowing music. There are three movements: a jubilant Allegro, a haunting Adagio and a spritely Rondo, the last launched into without pause. Ms. Roudman’s and Ms. Pelinka’s playing was particularly virtuosic in the third movement, as their instruments often sang together while the viola and violin provided sympathetic harmonies in pizzicato.

Ms. Tula was the soloist for Carlos Salzedo’s Ballade for Harp, Op. 28 (1914). Salzedo was a French harpist, composer and conductor, and perhaps the most eminent harp composer in the 20th century. The Ballade showcases the instrument’s versatility and Ms. Tula’s command of the complicated score. It’s rare to hear classical solo harp and the arc of the piece was not immediately discernable. Rather, on first hearing it produced many special moments: arpeggios, strumming, glissandos, bisbigliando, subtle harmonics, plucking. Altogether it was a thrilling cascade of intricate and layered sound, and at times the surprise was that only two hands and two feet (to play the seven pedals) were involved in the performance.

The festive evening concluded with Mozart’s Quartet in F major, K. 370/368b, scored for oboe, violin, viola and bass violin or cello. Mozart had recently heard virtuoso oboist Friedrich Ramm, and as Mr. Barrett explained in introductory remarks, Ramm “played higher and faster than anyone else.” This opened possibilities to the composer, and he composed the music for Ramm to show the oboist’s virtuosity and the improvements that had been made to the oboe at that time.

The quartet includes a "high F" above the staff, a note rarely played before, and lots of rapid-fire passages which Mr. Barrett handled with finesse. The judicious tempo was such that every passage had clear articulation and distinct shape. After hearty applause, the audience joined the musicians for conversation and enjoyed the Devon House’s generous offerings of snacks, Perrier, and wine.