Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Ensemble Vermillian / Saturday, January 02, 2010

Vermillian Ensemble On Stage in Santa Rosa's Sophia Hall

EARLY MUSIC VIRTUOSITY FROM THE VERMILLIAN EMSEMBLE

by Joanna Bramel Young
Saturday, January 02, 2010

Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa hosted a concert January 2 in their handsome West Santa Rosa Sophia Hall, featuring the Vermillian Ensemble.

Frances Blaker, well-known to Bay Area recorder players as both a teacher and performer, brought a handful of fine baroque recorders to perform works for recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord. She and baroque violinist David Wilson treated an appreciative audience that filled the hall to a variety of trio sonatas, accompanied by baroque cellist Barbara Blaker-Krumdieck and harpsichordist Hanneke van Proosdij. Ms. Blaker, in order to extend the repertoire possibilities of the recorder, took on the project of finding interesting works written for two violins and basso continuo and arranging one of the violin parts for recorder. This was a frequent practice in the 17th and 18th centuries, where the title page would often read “May be played on flute, oboe or violin.” This practice of course helped sell more music to players of different instruments. Ms. Blake explained her reason for undertaking the project by telling the audience, “I love to play the recorder, but I love to listen to the violin.”

The program’s first work was a trio sonata by Corelli, the Roman composer known for his sweet melodies and clear, defined bass lines. The sparkling last Allegro allowed the recorder, in the hands of Ms. Blaker, to demonstrate abundant facility and instrumental mastery. Cello and harpsichord provided sensitive support to the upper voices. The next piece was by Giovanni Battista Fontana (1589?-1630?), the earliest composition on the program. Fontana, along with the better known Frescobaldi, was a Venetian composer writing pieces in the “stilo moderno” (modern style) which was in vogue in the years after 1600.

This style influenced composers for the next hundred years, and one of its characteristics was, rather than having each movement separated by a pause, which later sonatas exhibited, one movement ran seamlessly into the next. The last note of the Adagio segment would be the first note of the next Allegro. These works involve brilliant flashes of ornamentation, and the whole piece was meant to sound like an improvisation. Ms. Blaker used a soprano recorder which was a copy of an instrument appropriate to the period. Passionate extended notes at the beginning, echoed by harpsichord and cello, were followed by virtuosic runs, requiring intense and expressive articulation among the three players. A quick dance in 6/8 suddenly appears out of an Adagio to end the piece with great energy.

Hanneke van Proosdij demonstrated her virtuosity with a captivating work for solo harpsichord by Joseph Hector Fiocco (1703-1741). She began in the low register using the pungent lute stop, letting the right hand enter later in the louder, more singing “regular” register, creating a moving duet between bass and treble. Ms. van Proosdij is not only known as a harpsichordist, but also a performer on the recorder. Her own vermillion scarlet Dutch made harpsichord provided a fitting setting for the Ensemble Vermillian.

David Wilson exhibited a passionate style in performing the “Sonata Quarta” by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (c.1620-1680). Mr. Wilson mentioned that Schmelzer was one of the great violinists of his generation, and related to the audience that this work “showed how much fun it is to play the violin.” The harpsichord and cello began with an absolutely simple ground bass of four descending notes, over and over, as Mr. Wilson “vamped” over the four notes in a series of brilliant variations.

The program ended with Buxtehude, where the recorder and violin were able to show their mettle in long solo passages with harpsichord and cello, all merging together into a rich ensemble sound.