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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...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Marin Symphony / Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Alasdair Neale, conductor
Robin Sutherland, piano

Sage Mace (left) and Robin Sutherland at J-B Piano (Michael Phillips Photo)

ALASDAIR NEALE CONDUCTS HAYDN AND MOZART AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT

by
Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Poignancy and passion, or possibly “Sturm and Drang,” was certainly the intended focus of the Marin Symphony’s third concert of the season Feb. 1in San Rafael’s Marin Center’s auditorium.

Music Director Alasdair Neale led the orchestra in three works by Haydn and Mozart that typify this late 18th-Century movement of emotionalism and passion. It was the beginning of a new form replacing the old. Haydn’s Symphony No. 49 in F minor (La Passione) began the evening and the four movements, all in the dramatic key of F minor, makes this work the archetypical example of the composer’s emotional and dynamic imagination. The orchestra seemed to perfectly capture the emotion of this infrequently heard but important example of middle-period Haydn. It set the stage for the two Mozart works that followed.

The centerpiece of the concert of the season was the Mozart Piano C Major Concerto, No. 25, K 503. Robin Sutherland, the orchestra pianist of the San Francisco Symphony, performed this masterpiece concerto with deft technique and tonal beauty. No wonder Mr. Sutherland is known as “the perfect Mozart pianist.” The work is one of Mozart’s longest and it was a tour de force performance. The cadenza at the end of the first movement was perhaps unexpected as Mr. Sutherland chose to follow the out-of fashion tradition of the soloist improvising, or writing out, his own cadenza discarding the many printed versions.

It should also be noted that Mr. Sutherland was also the guest of the “Piano Contest Winner,” and an 11-year year-old student, Sage Mace, won the contest with her answers to the question, “What does the piano mean to you?” One of the prizes included meeting Mr. Sutherland at San Rafael’s J-B Piano Emporium, the event hosted by J-B owner Glenn Woodruff.

Mozart’s 41st Symphony in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter) completed a classic evening. While the orchestra had performed Mozart’s G minor Symphony, No. 40, during the last season, tonight’s performance completed a triptych of masterful symphonies, all composed in 1788. The first movement opened with a theme played with vigorous chords and then was answered with a delicate and soft response from the string section. The conductor and the orchestra were terrific in bringing out just the right balances and intonation was excellent. Woodwind playing was exceptionally rich in this performance, especially in the Andante cantabile slow movement. Mr. Neale showed his appreciation by personally giving each woodwind player a handshake at the end.

The audience, nearly filling the hall, provided a standing ovation following the elegant Mozart performance.