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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sebastopol Center For The Arts / Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sonoma County Twenty Fingers Club: Ann Boatright, Angela Coons, David DiGrazia, Judy Sabin, Barbara Shepherd, Adrian Boyer, Loria Rolander, piano.

Goodhart, Neese, Ellis, Tolstova, Schoenthal, Wright, Flor in Sebastopol

MUSICAL IMAGES A LA FLOR ET AL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 16, 2014

Laureano Flor is a bit of a Renaissance man: pianist, concert producer, computer-science teacher, sartorial personage. Many of his manifold talents were in place on Valentine's Day in a multi-performer concert for 75 in the renovated Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

The program's title, "Images of Music," was apt, with three of 19th-century landscape painter Frederick Church's works providing the backdrop for three of composer Daniel Baldwin's bucolic and plaintive pieces. Performed by clarinetist Carla Schoenthal, bassoonist Karen Wright, French hornist Ben Robinson and Mr. Floor, the musical atmosphere was at turns minimalistic and even New Age, Mr. Flor's playing giving a murmuring and mysterious foundation to the lofty wind instruments above.

Pianist Charlotte Ellis joined Mr. Flor for two short Rachmaninoff works, the slow movements (Op. 5, No. 3, and Op.17, No. 3) from the popular Two Suites for two pianos. Slow was the operative term, the pianists squeezing every drop of emotion from the two circa 1900 pieces to the detriment of majesty and contrast. Tatyana Goodhart was the next artist to play with the ubiquitous Mr. Floor, in Ravel's arrangement of two of Debussy's orchestra nocturnes, "Nuages" and "Fetes." The tempos selected were again slow, and the balances favored the larger stage piano, with Ms. Goodhart performing the filigree of "Nuages" elegantly.

The remaining eight works on the program brought various singers to the mix, with Ms. Ellis, Ms. Goodhart and Mr. Flor taking the piano parts. Of special interest were soprano Bethany Neese and tenor Adrian Boyer in the "Recuerdo" song by Charlotte Ellis, and the final three short songs with Ms. Goodhart and soprano Marina Tolstova. Ms. Tolstova's operatic voice tended to overshadow the evening's other vocalists and overpower Rachmaninoff's "A Dream" (Op. 8, No.7) and "Spring Waters" (Op. 14, No. 11). The resolute Russian soprano finished the concert with a thrilling "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi," her voice at times sliding between notes. Although powerful in sound, it lacked tonal warmth and charm.

Since late 2012, the Arts Center has been in the remodeled Sonoma County Veterans Hall in downtown Sebastopol, an ideal setting for public concerts and social events. Executive Director Linda Galleta and Mr. Flor make an ideal pair to stimulate productions of live music in this semi-cozy venue.