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Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
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...
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.