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Symphony
HEROIC EFFORT FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 13, 2020
December 13 was a rainy day, perfect for huddling indoors and watching a prerecorded “live” performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program was expansive, with music from the 18th through 21st centuries, and the mood was festive, in keeping with the holiday season. There was something in the fea...
Symphony
MASKED SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CARRIES ON BRILLIANTLY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 15, 2020
In some ways the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 15 concert on YouTube resembled a Conceptual Art performance from the 1970s. On display were about 30 masked orchestral musicians playing six feet apart from each other on stage, some of them separated by plexiglass barriers. In the 1970s, the concept behi...
Chamber
SPLENDID STRINGS IN A SUNLIT GARDEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 1, 2020
A sun-drenched autumn afternoon, a Marin County garden and six superb string players from the Santa Rosa Symphony were manna from heaven to a pandemic-weary audience starved for live music. The sextet of Santa Rosa Symphony musicians performed to a small group of 20 Nov. 1, the day after Halloween....
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 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...
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...
CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
Cantiamo Sonoma / Friday, March 29, 2013
St. Cecilia Choir, Cantiamo Sonoma and the Incarnation Chamber Orchestra. Carol Menke, conductor. Clarie Frydenlund, soprano, Marilyn Thompson, organ.

Carol Menke (l) with musicians and singers March 29 at Incarnation

MASTERFUL GOOD FRIDAY CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday concerts are always spiritual but often can be monotonous and overly long. Cantiamo and the St. Cecelia Choir’s exceptional program March 29 in Santa Rosa’s packed Church of the Incarnation was anything but mundane, and perhaps too short.

Conductor Carol Menke fashioned a balanced evening, concluding with John Rutter’s animated Requiem, written in 1985 for medium choir, small instrumental ensemble, organ and soprano soloist. The opening Introit (Requiem Aeternam) and Kyrie were beautifully sung by the 30-voice Choir, based at Incarnation, the music beginning menacingly with John Week's hushed timpani playing and a continuo organ part performed by Marilyn Thompson. In the small church the sound had a burnished quality. The following “Out of the Deep” (based on Psalm 130) featured a long and beguiling cello solo by Laura McLellan, winding in and out of the vocal fabric.

Soprano Claire Frydenlund was the soloist in the third-movement motet, Pie Jesu, her high tessitura gleaming and clear. Ms. Menke paced each section with care. The cutoffs were sharp, the conductor at times holding the sound for many seconds and stopping it with a tiny hand movement.

Instrumental charm came forward in the Sanctus and Benedictus with elegant playing from oboist Laura Reynolds and flutist Kathleen Reynolds, punctuated by Tim Dent's crisp glockenspiel execution. Through these movements, harpist Wendy Tamis’ solos could be heard over the high volume of the choir, and her soft arpeggio playing was refined.

Psalm 23 in the sixth movement and the Lux Aeterna finale were captivating, with Ms. Frydenlund’s singing again complementing the polyphony of the choir. It was a polished and even sumptuous performance, guided at every turn by the conductor’s graceful control of phrase.

Sonoma County’s 19-member Cantiamo sang works by Lassus, Rutter, René Clausen, Paul Mealer and Frank Ticheli in the program’s first half. Separated by 413 years, Rutter and Lassus’ music feature striking modulations, especially at the end of the “Open Thou Mine Eyes” and “Taedet Animan Meam,” respectively. The theme throughout in these two works, and in Clausen’s "Deep River," is peace, and Cantiamo captured a lovely tranquility. Ticheli’s “There Will be Rest” ends with the words “I shall find the crystal of peace, above me stars I shall find,” and the calming effect for the beginning of a three-day religious period was palpable.

Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts produced the concert.