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Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
Sonoma Bach / Saturday, November 13, 2010
Circa 1600 Vocal Ensemble
Live Oak Baroque Orchestra
Robert Worth, director

Heinrich Schütz

CIRCA 1600 CHORUS SINGS MAGNIFICENT SCHÜTZ WORKS AT HOLY FAMILY CHURCH

by Joanna Bramel Young
Saturday, November 13, 2010

A small but appreciative audience enjoyed a concert of vocal works by the great early Baroque master Heinrich Schütz Nov. 13 at the Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park. Accompanying the fourteen singers, skillfully directed by Robert Worth, were John Dornenburg on the G violone and Susan Harvey on the positiv organ.

Robert Worth is well known to Sonoma County audiences as a Music Department Professor at Sonoma State and director of several of the area’s finest choral ensembles. A recent retiree from the University, Mr. Worth in September formed the chamber chorus Circa 1600, focusing on the rich repertoire that spanned the late Renaissance and the early Baroque periods (the 16th and 17th centuries). The Chorus also occasionally moves backward to the 15th and forward to the 18th centuries, and they are often joined by members of the Live Oak Baroque Orchestra.

Heinrich Schütz was a perfect choice for the ensemble, in that his life spanned the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Schütz (1585-1672) was born in Germany one hundred years before Bach. When he was twenty-four he spent years in Italy studying with the great Venetian master Giovanni Gabrieli, and in 1611 he wrote a group of Italian madrigals dedicated to his renowned teacher, ultimately bringing the “new” Italian style of playing to Germany. The program Saturday evening opened with some of Schütz’s later religious motets called Geistliche Chormusik (Spiritual Choral Music), which showed off the choral ensemble’s considerable abilities. Although composed in German contrapuntal style the music also reflected some of the newer elements of the rising Italian forms. The music mirrored texts beautifully: in the motet So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ (Thus I go hence to Jesus Christ) there are moving, overlapping ascending and descending phrases that capture the great humanity of the music. At the words So schlaf ich ein und ruh fein (Then I fall asleep and rest soundly) one can feel the music following the meaning of the words. The vocal ensemble was uniformly solid and very expressive in these magnificent motets. Endings of each work were carefully tuned and often tapered down to a pianissimo.

This reviewer especially enjoyed Selig sind die Toten (Blessed are the dead). The violone doubled the strong bass voices, and the soft deep sonority of the Baroque chamber organ added to the tapestry of textures. The violone in G is a magnificent looking instrument, slightly larger and “fatter” than the better known viola da gamba. Mr. Worth, besides conducting, also added his fine bass voice to the ensemble.

The second set of works on the program were a group of five-voice madrigals, written while the youthful Schütz was in Italy. Madrigals were meant to be sung a capella – without instrumental accompaniment. He composed only one book of madrigals, but his substantial talents for musical variety and his knowledge of the Italian language make these secular works delightful. These madrigals, with their sudden change of mood and treacherously fast notes require an extremely facile group of singers. Sometimes the clarity of the parts was lost in the complex counterpoint and cascades of notes, but they still maintained their great variety of colors and emotion.

This reviewer’s favorite piece on the program was the last one, from Schütz’s own final work, the Schwanensang (Swan Song) for eight voices in two antiphonal choirs. The joyous triple rhythm with its many hemiolas (two against three rhythms) brought the evening to a jubilant close.