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Chamber
HEROIC TRUMPET AND ORGAN MUSIC AT INCARNATION
by Jerry Dibble
Friday, October 12, 2018
The strong connections between Santa Rosa’s musical community and California State University Chico were on display Oct. 12 as David Rothe, Professor Emeritus in the Chico Music Department, and Ayako Nakamura, trumpet with the North State Symphony, presented a concert titled “Heroic Music for Trumpe...
Symphony
LECCE-CHONG PROVES HIS METTLE WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 07, 2018
Francesco Lecce-Chong was handed two warhorses for his debut as conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and he rode them both to thrilling victory. For the first win, Brahms’ violin concerto, he owed much to soloist Arnaud Sussman, but for the other triumph, Beethoven’s fifth symphony, he and his musi...
Chamber
THORNY BARTOK AND ELEGANT MENDELSSOHN FOR THE BRENTANO
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In a minor masterpiece of programming choices the Brentano String Quartet played a Sept. 30 Weill Hall program with an emphasis on refinement, even with a challenging Bartok work in the mix. Dvorák’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola (Op. 75a) opened the concert with charm and gentle loveliness,...
Chamber
ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and aco...
Recital
IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series. Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long ...
Symphony
SAKAKEENY'S LION AND ROSE HIGHLIGHTS SO CO PHIL'S 20TH SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Latin America the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 20th season Sept. 22 in a celebratory concert in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. Keeping to the evening’s orchestra history and past performance, conductor emeritus Gabriel Sakakeeny, who led the So Co Ph...
Recital
DEDIK'S POTENT BEETHOVEN AND CHOPIN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, September 17, 2018
Anastasia Dedik returned Sept. 17 to the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series in a recital that featured three familiar virtuoso works in potent interpretations. Chopin’s G Minor Ballade hasn’t been heard in Sonoma County public concerts since a long-ago Earl Wild performance, and Beethoven’s...
Recital
DUO WEST OPENS OCCIDENTAL CONCERT SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 09, 2018
Before a full house at the Occidental Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 the cello-piano Duo West, playing from score throughout, presented a recital that on paper looked stimulating and thoughtful. Beginning with MacDowell’s To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51), the transcription by an unan...
Chamber
CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium. A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadle...
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 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.