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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
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.