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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
SYMPHONY
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
CHAMBER
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
CHAMBER
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
SYMPHONY
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
SYMPHONY
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
SYMPHONY
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
RECITAL
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
CHAMBER
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
SYMPHONY
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Local Concerts  
CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Sunday, December 10, 2017
Philmaronia Baroque Orchestra. Nicholas McGegan, conductor. Yulia Van Doren, soprano; Diana Moore, alto; James Reese, tenor; Philip Cutlip, baritone

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017

The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Oratorio Dec. 10.

Before a Weill Hall audience of 1,000 conductor Nicholas McGegan fashioned an historically accurate and balanced Messiah reading that gave equal weight to the 24-personal chorus, the 31-person orchestra and four sterling soloists: soprano Yulia Van Doren, alto Diana Morre, tenor James Reese and baritone Philip Cutlip.

Part one developed over 51 minutes into a lovely panoply of complimentary sections, beginning with Mr. Reese’s lyrical tenor and six chorus only sections. Highlights of the latter were “For Us a Child is Born,” the “He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd” duet of Ms. Morre and Ms. Van Doren, and the rich non-vibrato violins. Hanneke van Proosdij played throughout a small electric organ, similar to the one used by the American Bach Soloists, and as a continuo it reinforced the cello and bass (stage left) musical lines.

In fast virtuoso runs Ms. Van Doren sung with clear diction and agility, seemingly enticing Mr. McGegan three times to turn towards her from the podium with an admiring smile. Ms. Morre’s sonority was rich in the low register, and Mr. Cutlip showed a vocal “shake” and an expressive melisma in the section “For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth.”

After a half hour intermission Part two was much of a lament with the conductor controlling crisp attacks and releases. The music never seemed too fast and Mr. McGegan adroitly made subtle tempo changes throughout the Part. The two Baroque oboes and two bassoons could seldom be heard in the sonic texture, but if omitted something of richness would be lost. Part two is even longer than Part one, and following the concluding Hallelujah Chorus a number of the audience were seen leaving the Hall. In this Chorus the custom of audience standing (as King George II is said to have stood) was observed, but modern scholarship has pointed to the monarch not rising to the music, and possibly he never attended a Messiah performance. Two Baroque trumpeters and a timpanist added their pungent sound to the mix, and this carried over to the concluding Part three.

In the finale Ms. Van Doren’s great aria “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” had clarion power, and in an odd way reminded me of Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament” sung in Weill a month earlier by Les Artes Florissants, but needing of course greater projection and vocal heft. Kathryn Adduci’s trumpet playing added wonderfully to Mr. Cutlip’s extended and triumphal aria “Behold, I Tell You a Mystery.” Here deceptive cadenzas led to many repeats and a duo of cellist Paul Hale and Mr. Van Proosdij. Equally captivating was Mr. Reese and Ms. Van Doren singing “O Death, Where Is They Sting?”

Mozart must have known the last part of the Messiah, as the great fugue in the fourth movement of his “Jupiter” Symphony reflects the power and ferocity of the last ten minutes of Handel’s soprano aria (“If God Be For Us”) and two choruses. The driving rhythms were expertly managed by Mr. McGegan, bringing a brilliant end to a work that belongs to each holiday season and to the ages.

A standing ovation produced three curtain calls and individual recognition by the conductor of the concertmaster Carla Moore (and ultimately her section) and the trumpets.




Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, December 14, 2017
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Frank Almond, violin; Joyce Yang, piano
Franck: Sonata in A; Beethoven: G Major Sonata, Op. 30, No. 3; Amanda Maier Röntgen: selected pieces; Liszt: Spanish Rhapsody Music at Oakmont concerts are open to Oakmont residents and their guests...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Saturday, December 16, 2017
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Stephen Escher, cornetto; Charles Rus, organ
Music of Monteverdi, Palestrina, and composers TBA...
Details

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Sunday, December 17, 2017
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Stephen Escher, cornetto; Charles Rus, organ
Music of Palestrina, Monteverdi and composers TBA...
Details

RECITAL
Heinberg Tubridy Duo
Saturday, December 30, 2017
2:00 PM - Guerneville
Richard Heinberg, violin; Sonia Morse Tubridy, piano
Bach: Sonatas in C Minor (BWV 1017) and E Major (BWV 1016) Seating very limited. Please contact: sonia.tubridy@gmail.com for an RSVP, and directions Donations Resuested for River Choir. Food and ...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, January 13, 2018
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Graeme Jenkins, conductor. Orli Shaham, piano
Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military); Mozart: Concerto No. 21 "Elvira Madigan"; Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, January 14, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Graeme Jenkins, conductor. Orli Shaham, piano
Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military); Mozart: Concerto No. 21 "Elvira Madigan"; Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra...
Details

CHAMBER
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society
Sunday, January 14, 2018
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
Claremont Trio. Emily Bruskin, violin; Julia Bruskin, cello; Andrea Lam, piano
Gabriella Lena Frank: Piano Trio: Smetana: Trio in G, Op. 15; Beethoven: Trio in B Flat, Op. 97 ("Archduke")...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, January 15, 2018
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Graeme Jenkins, conductor. Orli Shaham, piano
Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military); Mozart: Concerto No. 21 "Elvira Madigan"; Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra...
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CHAMBER
Green Music Center
Sunday, January 21, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
Program: TBA...
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SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Saturday, January 27, 2018
8:00 PM - Ukiah
Les Pfutzenreuter, conductor. Elizabeth MacDougall, piano; Randy Masselink and John Lounsbery, horn
Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Horns; Artunian: Trumpet Concerto; Joseph Nemeth: Piano Concerto; additional works TBA Tickets: $25; Seniors $20; under 18 free...
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