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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...
Recital
PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the ...
CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
American Bach Soloists / Friday, April 16, 2010
Jeffrey Thomas, music director
Mary Wilson, soprano
Johanna Novom, violin
Corey Jamason, harpsichord

Mary Wilson

MARY WILSON'S VIRTUOSITY SHINES IN AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS' MARIN CONCERT

by Joanna Bramel Young
Friday, April 16, 2010

The American Bach Soloists performed their final concert in the current series April 16 at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, and the large audience was treated to glorious works by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. Each piece showcased a soloist who performed with members of the ABS orchestra. Rather than having a full orchestra, with many players on a each part, conductor Jeffrey Thomas chose to have two instrumentalists on each of the string parts. There were twelve strings, harpsichord, oboe and recorder in the mix.

Soprano Mary Wilson was the shining star of the soloists, opening the program with Vivaldi’s motet In furore iustissimae irae (In the furor of your most just wrath). The motet begins with the strings’ playing a dashing and crashing introduction (reminiscent of his famous “Winter” Concerto) symbolizing the descent into Hell. Ms. Wilson then entered over the thundering ensemble, echoing passionately the words “In the furor of your most just wrath you might act with strength.” Her voice was so perfectly matched to the strings, there seemed to be nothing she couldn’t do, evoking wrath, fury and tears. The audience was enthralled with the virtuosity of her singing. Every emotion was wrung from the piece as the music changed from dramatic Allegros to weeping Adagios. In one aria Ms Wilson sang in unison with a solo violin, ending on a pianissimo. On the da capo she sang the last phrase up an octave – in her highest register – and ended in a breathtaking pianissimo. The concluding “Alleluia” of the Vivaldi was a coloratura masterpiece for voice, sung with perfection.

Sandwiched between two vocal works on the program were two concerti by Bach, the first was his Concerto in D Minor for Harpsichord and Orchestra. Bach was the first composer to write a keyboard concerto and the great piano concertos of the next century owe their legacy to him. Corey Jamason was the soloist. The string players stood in a great semicircle around the magnificent harpsichord, with its Chinese red lid interior brightly lit and open to the audience. The work began with all the instruments playing in unison. Suddenly the harpsichord broke away into its own part, with strings punctuating the rhythmic pulses. At one point the orchestra suddenly stopped, in a grand pause, and the harpsichord then launched into a brilliant cadenza. Mr. Jamason negotiated the cascades of Bach’s counterpoint with mastery, clarity and passion.

After the intermission violinist Johanna Novom soloed in Bach’s Concerto in A Minor for Violin and Orchestra. Ms Novom is a recent winner of the ABS Young Artist’s CompetitioN in, and has a warm tone and fine phrasing that underscores her mastery of baroque style. The Andante was especially moving, with the low strings beginning and the solo violin entering with an achingly beautiful melody. The Allegro, with its galloping rhythms, ended the piece with the violin playing brilliant runs above the strings.

The final piece presented Ms. Wilson for a second time in Handel’s long secular cantata Delirio Amoroso (A Lover’s Delirium). Oboe and recorder (both played flawlessly by Debra Nagy, another winner of the ABS Young Artist’s Competition) joined the orchestra. While the young Handel was in Rome this was probably his first major work. The cantata is very operatic, with displays of an extremely wide range of vocal and instrumental emotion. Handel, who became the supreme master of the art of operatic composition while in Rome, was forced to call his operas “cantatas” because the reigning Pope banned all opera performance. Because of this, his cantatas from this period are operatic in character. The most beautiful aria from this work was “For you I left the light,” the soprano accompanied by a solo cello. Throughout the piece Ms. Wilson’s singing was transcendent. At the conclusion of the Handel the audience gave her a long standing ovation, justly deserved. Seldom does one hear a voice as marvelous as hers.