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SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
Choral and Vocal
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Feb. 9 performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the 1820s—emp...
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
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.