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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
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, December 12, 2014
New Century Chamber Orchestra. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, director. San Francisco Girls Chorus

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the NCCO in Weill Hall Dec. 12

NEW CENTURY AND SF CHORUS CHARMS WEILL AUDIENCE IN CHRISTMAS PROGRAM

by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, December 12, 2014

On December 12 a good-sized audience came out of the cold evening into the warmth and light of Weill Hall, and soon the regal warmth and light of beautiful music filled the auditorium and hearts of those present. Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg with New Century Chamber Orchestra launched into a spirited rendition of the Entrance of the Queen of Sheba from Handel’s Oratorio “Solomon,” HWV 87. It was a burst of joy and immediately showed how extraordinary this chamber orchestra of 19 string players can be. NCCO is a collaborative ensemble and they play with a commitment and sense of musical intent that is breathtaking.

Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg addressed the audience and told about the program, including favorite selections and composers that NCCO and the San Francisco Girls Chorus had put together: Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, carols, instrumental and choral pieces to make us all happy. The variety, beauty, old favorites, fresh interpretations created a festive musical experience.

The evening continued with the the Corelli Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 8, "Christmas Concerto,” full of lively and poignant passages and exquisite solo and ensemble playing. The music was dynamically nuanced and the orchestra seemed to breathe and soar as one musical soul. Next, the San Francisco Girls Chorus presented “Radiant Stars” by Caesar Cui a cappella, and then Vaughan Williams' Four Songs of Winter together with orchestra. The chorus excelled with warm tone and a range of vocal colors that was a delight. The balance between voices and instruments was exceptionally good, a challenge for most choral performances with orchestra.

Vivaldi's "Winter" from the Four Seasons with Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg on solo violin was a miracle of fresh and intriguing moments. This often performed piece was imbued with new excitement, nuances and cascades of joy. It was a spontaneous and exhilarating presentation. An audience member commented to me during the intermission that there could not be enough superlative words of praise to describe the violinist’s virtuosity with the NCCO.

Following the break the SF Girls Chorus returned with NCCO to sing Mozart's “Engel Gottes Kunden” (two sopranos with flute and strings, KV. 519) and Rutter's Nativity Carol with a charm and clarity, and then performed a traditional medley of seasonal carols. This rich program concluded with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (BWV 1048) and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's great Messiah Oratorio. The Bach had the effect of being completely familiar but also brought to new and vibrant life. All phrases had intent and direction. The music really mattered to the musicians and I was swept into their enthusiasm. The Handel Chorus was beautifully arranged by C. Assad for the Girls Chorus and they were able to keep the sound vibrant and clear in Weill’s sterling acoustic setting. Two encores allowed musicians and audience some happy moments together.

As we left this remarkable concert many noted that this event had fulfilled a hope of sending us home happy and content, with gifts of joyous musical memories to carry us through the holidays and beyond.