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STUNNING LINCOLN CENTER CONCERT LAUNCHES FIFTH WEILL SEASON
by Philip Beard
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Happy times in a packed Weill Hall Oct. 1: The insouciant, irrepressible, immensely talented trumpeter / bandleader Wynton Marsalis and his powerful, polished Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra opened Weill’s fifth season with a superb program of jazz classics and classics-to-be that set a high bar for t...
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LATE BEETHOVEN EXPLORED AT MMF CONCERT IN PRESTON HALL
by Paula Mulligan
Thursday, July 21, 2016
The Mendocino Music Festival performance in Preston Hall July 22 was titled “Late Beethoven,” and was the final presentation in the tribute to the composer that was part of this year’s Festival.  Pianist Susan Waterfall has been giving a series of lecture dealing with Beethoven’s life and music, and...
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ANGUISH AND TRIUMPH IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL'S BIG TENT
by Kayleen Asbo
Sunday, July 10, 2016
The Mendocino Music Festival is highlighting Beethoven this summer, and July 10’s program in the tent could have appropriately borrowed the subtitle from Jan Swafford’s 2014 biography of the composer, Anguish and Triumph. The Festival’s second classical concert paired two Beethoven works wit...
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ARCANE ARENSKY TRIO HIGHLIGHTS NAVARRO'S SEASON OPENING CONCERT IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 04, 2015
One would have thought that the glitz surrounding Lang Lang’s 101 Pianists Foundation program Oct. 4 in Weill would have upstaged chamber music at the same time in nearby Schroeder Hall. Not to worry, as the Trio Navarro continues to perform sometimes-neglected gems from the trio literature with a ...
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TRUMPET ON FIRE
by Philip Beard
Friday, September 11, 2015
Chris Botti’s show at SSU’s Green Music Center Sept. 11 was a real barnburner. The highly acclaimed, much-traveled trumpeter--his group is on the road over 300 days a year, playing always to large audiences--was making his second appearance at Weill Hall and Lawn, two years after his sold-out first ...
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GRAND GESTURES IN VIEAUX'S WEILL HALL GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, October 18, 2013
Weill Hall is an imposing building situated on the Sonoma State campus, and still has that “new car smell” about it. I was looking forward to hearing guitarist Jason Vieaux’s performance October 18, not only to hear the artist but to experience the acoustics of the hall about which I have been heari...
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BOTTI'S BAND TRUMPETS HIGH-WIRE DERRING DO IN SUMMER-ENDING WEILL CONCERT
by Philip Beard
Sunday, August 25, 2013
No question about it: Weill Hall was the happening place to be on Aug. 25 with trumpeter Chris Botti and his entourage delivering two and a half hours of jazzy, rocky, funky, high-wire derring-do to an audience that loved every minute of it. Almost. The performance was stunning both figuratively an...
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LATE WINTER TURNS TO SPRING IN CREATIVE ARTS SERIES CONCERT
by Michael J. Mello
Sunday, February 24, 2013
A concert of Renaissance and Celtic songs for voice, lute and recorder was presented by soprano and lutenist Doris Williams with the assistance of recorder virtuoso Claudia Liliana Gantivar and mandolinist Mike Bell. The Feb. 24 event in Santa Rosa’s Resurrection Parish Church was part of the Creat...
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MESSIAEN PIANO PRELUDES HIGHLIGHT SMITH RECITAL IN SANTA ROSA
by Beth Zucchino
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Marin Pianist Jean Alexis Smith played a stunning recital Jan. 27 in the first 2013 concert for the Creative Arts Series. In remarks to the Resurrection Parish audience, the pianist explained that although her program has a range of styles from Baroque to Contemporary, all the composers involved wr...
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TANAKA PLAYS AUTHORATIVE MOZART IN CREATIVE ARTS SERIES FORTEPIANO RECITAL
by Richard Wayland
Sunday, April 29, 2012
A pleasant surprise greeted me April 29 when I attended a fortepiano recital at Resurrection Parish in Santa Rosa. The venue was simple, modern, beautiful, and seating was comfortable. The décor reminded me of Pi, a Parisian artist of the fifties. The performer for the season’s final Creative A...
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Doris Williams, soprano & lute / Sunday, February 24, 2013
Beth Zucchino

Doris Williams, Mike Bell, Claudia Gantivar (B. Zucchino Photo)

LATE WINTER TURNS TO SPRING IN CREATIVE ARTS SERIES CONCERT

by Michael J. Mello
Sunday, February 24, 2013

A concert of Renaissance and Celtic songs for voice, lute and recorder was presented by soprano and lutenist Doris Williams with the assistance of recorder virtuoso Claudia Liliana Gantivar and mandolinist Mike Bell. The Feb. 24 event in Santa Rosa’s Resurrection Parish Church was part of the Creative Arts Series.

The music began with a delightful performance of Claudin de Sermisy’s “Tant que vivray” (“As long as I shall live”), a chanson which alternated between sections in a stately and sober pavane rhythm reflecting the singer’s languishing in love, and more sprightly sections celebrating love possessed. The delicacy of Ms. William’s lute playing as she accompanied herself, as well as the pure intonation and tasteful ornamentation of her singing, and the skillful and well-tuned divisions (variations) of Ms. Gantivar’s playing on soprano recorder were qualities lavished on this and all the songs presented this afternoon.

In the second work, Paul Hofhaimer’s “Herliebstes bild” (“Beloved sight”), Ms. Williams commenced with a beautiful straight tone which then opened up into a more full, warm timbre for the almost hymnic melody, and was accompanied by Ms. Gantivar’s lively divisions on the tenor recorder. The two women brought passion and intensity to one of the “top 10” of the Renaissance, “Doulce Memoire” (“Sweet Memory”), and while the text concludes that “Good is finished, misfortune has beat us,” it was the good fortune of the audience to hear this fine performance.

Particularly touching was the delicacy of ensemble of the voice, recorder and lute in the closing envoi of this musical and poetic meditation on the transitory nature of happiness and pleasure. In the charming “O Vilanela” by Dutch composer Hubert Waelrant, Williams playfully affected different vocal timbres for the different speakers of the lines of the song.

Perhaps the most affecting song of the afternoon was “Amarylli mia bella.” In the opening solo for just recorder, Ms. Gantivar demonstrated the ability of her instrument to mourn and lament. A second section offered more lively and virtuosic divisions on the melody, and Ms. Williams and Ms. Gantivar conspired at the end in an effective, expressive return to the mournful feeling of the opening. Particularly expressive were Ms. Williams’ Monteverdi (“goat”) trills in the closing cadences. “Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ” (“Praised are you, Jesus Christ”) by the Praetorius was almost secular and madrigalesque in its humanistic joy in the birth of Jesus. The playful canonic interchanges between the voice and recorder were delightful. In the instrumental medley “Denmark’s Galliard/ Fairie Round” by Elizabethan composers Dowland and Holborne, Ms. Gantivar displayed great virtuosity on the soprano recorder, accompanied skillfully by Ms. Williams on the lute. Ms. Williams even added a delightful envoi of Renaissance scat-singing in the final measures.

In the Renaissance lute songs of Dowland and Thomas Morley could be performed by any number of combinations of voices and/or instruments. Dowland’s “Awake, Sweet Love” elicited in general a more full-bodied vocal tone from Williams with one of the polyphonic counter-melodies played with great sensitivity on the alto recorder by Ms. Gantivar. The singer moved easily and fluently through the more extended vocal range of the final lute song, Morley’s “With my love,” accompanied at the end with virtuosic divisions on the tune by Ms. Gantivar.

After intermission the two artists, now with a tin whistle added to the array of winds and with Mr. Bell on mandolin, presented a number of Celtic songs from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. “Blackbird and Thrushes” (“If all the young ladies were …”) was a lively beginning, followed by the moody “Dark Island,” a song originally written for a BBC series on the Hebrides Islands. The three artists captured the ethereal quality of the island “bathed in light” with a beautiful, delicate closing of tremolos on the mandolin. In the famous “Skye Boat Song,” Ms. Williams sang of carrying the child Bonnie Prince Charlie over the sea to Skye. Her warm, full-bodied singing in this song made me wish to hear more of that sound.

In perhaps most famous Welsh song of all, “The Ash Grove,” Ms. Gantivar played divisions on the melody with great facility in the interlude for recorder solo. “South Wind” elicited crystalline timbres from the lute, mandolin and recorder – musical Irish crystal! Yet another Welsh song, “Adar man y mynydd,” sensitively sung in Welsh, concerned transitions, dying and death: “What are these birds warbling so sweetly? … I fear that in the fall, I will be in the soil.” Ms. Williams borrowed the beautifully expressive, angular melody of a song by Doug Young to set the words of a poem by her own mother, “Like the nun who sings to none.”

The delightful afternoon of music ended with a lively performance of the very popular Irish song, “Canticle of the Turning - My heart does sing.” The three musicians left us singing in our hearts as well.