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Symphony
A HEALTHY MIX OF TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ORIGINALS FROM THE SR SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Transcriptions and ascending arpeggios were the order of the day on Jan. 24, as the Santa Rosa Symphony performed uplifting works by Bach/Webern, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Marianna Martínes and Mozart. The concert video was made in Weill Hall on Jan. 9. The first transcription was Webern’s 1935 renderi...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, March 31, 2013
Trio Navarro and Friends. Roy Malan, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel,cello, William Klingelhoffer, horn; Natalie Parker, clarinet; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Brian Wilson, William Klingelhofffer, Roy Malan, Marilyn Thompson In Weill March 31

THE FAMILIAR, THE RARE AND THE NEW

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sonoma State's resident Trio Navarro has a well-earned reputation for eclectic programming, and in their Easter Sunday concert in Weill Hall, they chose the familiar, the rare and the new.

The new was SSU faculty composer Brian Wilson's "And Ezra the Scribe Stood Upon a Pulpit," a trio for horn, violin and piano. It proved to be a tantalizing 14-minute score, beginning with a rumble and a descending sets of chords, with William Klingelhoffer's delicately audible horn emitting hushed staccato notes. The piece's air of mystery suited the references to the Torah, and it had insistent rhythms throughout.

Violinist Roy Malan had extended solo passages in sections reminiscent of jazz motifs, often over an Alberti bass figure from pianist Marilyn Thompson. The work ended with the violin the top of its range, to eerie effect. Similar to all of Mr. Wilson's music I have heard, "Ezra" is deftly written and uses instrumental timbres effectively to create absorbing music.

Brahms' familiar E Flat Horn Trio, Op. 40, came next in a capable performance that never quite soared in the large Weill space. Mr. Klingelhoffer played in a seamless style that melded well with the violin and piano, but the sonic fabric in both the Scherzo and Adagio movements was sporadically muddy. As was the case with one of the Trio's previous performances in Weill, the piano sound was indistinct and tended to recede into the mix, moving the violin to the forefront.

The thick and muted sonics in the Brahms may have been a byproduct of the size of the crowd. With only 150 people in Weill's 1,400 seats, the sound lacked focus. Possible solutions to this sonic anomaly include shutting the east-side curtains, installing a shell, or moving chamber music concerts to the soon-to-be-completed Schroeder Hall.

Curiously, the acoustics of the concluding work--Vaughan Williams' rarely hear early Quintet in D--were distinct. Clarinetist Natalie Parker and cellist Jill Brindel joined the three other musicians to play this four-movement composition, which is long on bucolics but short on concise structure. Fragments of themes abound, and the march-like Andantino features a lovely tune, but the overall impression of this 1898 work is one of youth and more important things to come.