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Chamber
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
Chamber
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Chamber
PASSIONATE BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG MUSIC CLOSES VOM FESTIVAL SUMMER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
An extraordinary program of chamber music by Brahms and Schoenberg attracted a capacity crowd to the Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s final concert July 29th in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. It opened with a richly expressive reading by Festival Laureate violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur...
Chamber
PRAGUE AND VIENNA PALACE GEMS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The remarkable Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented a concert called “Kinsky Palace” July 28 on their final Festival weekend in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. Two well-known treasures and one lesser gem were programmed. Starting the afternoon offerings were violinist Monica Huggett and Fest...
Chamber
INNOVATIVE CHAMBER WORKS IN HANNA CENTER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented a July 22 concert featuring three giants: Haydn, Schubert and Schumann, composers who altered music of their time with creative innovations and artistic vision. In the fourth season the Festival’s theme this year is “Vienna in Transition”, and VOM Fes...
Chamber
VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism” Prior to Saturday’s m...
Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
CHAMBER REVIEW
The Goat Rodeo Sessions / Friday, August 23, 2013
Yo Yo Ma,cello; Stuart Duncan, fiddle; Edgar Meyer, bass; Chris Thile, mandolin; Aoife O'Donovan, vocals

The Goat Rodeo Sessions

MUSICAL GOATS INVADE WEILL HALL PASTURE

by J. C. Benjamin
Friday, August 23, 2013

In the penultimate Weill Hall summer season concert on Aug. 23, the insouciant Goat Rodeo Sessions band brought an audience of 3,700 an eclectic mix of bluegrass, classical and fusion music unique in the Hall’s short history. The rapt listeners were clearly out for an evening of distinctive entertainment.

An enthusiastic reception greeted the band’s entrance, and a thunderous standing ovation, including yells from 2,000 in the terrace seats, ended the two-hour show. Ostensibly the stellar cellist Yo Yo Ma was the group’s leader, but the band’s lack of formality and often prankish stage behavior underscored their unconventional approach to the selected music. Announced from the stage, the song titles were varied and pungent: Quarter Chicken Dark, Less is Moi, Parallax, Where’s My Bow?, Farewell Angelina, Franz and the Eagle, 13:8, Hill Justice, Helping Hand, Attaboy and a relaxed encore, All Through The Night.

Soprano Aoife O'Donovan joined Mr. Ma, fiddle player Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and the always-in-motion mandolin and guitar virtuoso Chris Thile for four songs, and Mr. Meyer did double duty at the piano. Mr. Duncan and Mr. Thile sporadically added an extra violin or banjo to the mix.

Mr. Ma told the audience that mutual trust was needed to play this kind of music, as was soon evident when artistic egos were supplanted by frequent smiles, nods to each other and spiritual interaction. The Goats clearly loved making music that was often driving, fast, playful and full of energy. Long explanations about the titles of pieces were offered, with a Goat “hand salute” and a shout out to the people on the terrace: “How are you doing?”

In the fourth piece, “Where’s My Bow?”, the character was a mixture of classical and hoedown, almost a work that minimalist composer John Adams might have crafted. Capriciously, the band touched bows at the conclusion in a resounding “high five.” Ms. O’Donovan and Mr. Thile had a beguiling duet in “Farewell Angelina,” a Bob Dylan song made famous by Joan Baez. “Hill Justice” echoed the banjo style of the legendary picker Ralph Stanley. Two movements of a Bach sonata for viola da gamba and harpsichord--here transposed for cello, bass and mandolin--were played persuasively, with subtle charm. Mr. Ma used a score in this work.

Announced as the group’s favorite, “Attaboy” received a provocative performance where the violin becomes a country fiddle, the cello sounds like a fiddle, and the mandolin weaves an evocative vocal line in a diminuendo, only to fire up the group to a propulsive conclusion.

At the end, Mr. Ma paid homage to Joan and Sanford Weill for their seminal support of local music, and the evening’s magical effects carried over to gay post-concert festivities.

Donald Edward and Pamela Morris contributed to this review.