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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
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Saturday, March 28, 2015
Norman Gamboa, conductor. Kathleen Lane Reynolds, flute

K. Reynolds Receiving Flowers March 28

HARMONIC CONVERGENCE IN PHILHARMONIC CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 28, 2015

Concluding a stellar season March 28 in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a concert rich in orchestral symmetry, mixed with a piquant flute concerto.

The symmetry began with the afternoon’s initial work, Carlos Escalante Macaya’s five-part “Ineluctble…El Tiempo.” Composed as a dance suite, the work spanned 30 minutes had a sensuous mix of color, especially from the winds, harp (Dan Levitan) and a six-person percussion section. Led by timpanist Anthony Blake, the sextet included Joseph Long (snare drum and others); Al Sinerco (glockenspiel); Jocelyn McCord (vibraphone); Walt Bodley (bass and tom tom drums) and Mary Greenberg (blocks and shakers).

Mr. Escalante, whose clarinet concerto was played in 2013 by the SCP, has a penchant for florid orchestration that had touches of minimalism (Reich’s “Music for 18 Instruments”) juxtaposed with lively themes sweetened by flute solos. The lovely Bourée had a beguiling pensive character, and the often tricky rhythms were deftly managed by conductor Norman Gamboa. There were several intense climaxes punctuated by the playing of three trombones and a solo by bassoonist Miranda Kincaid, with elegant oboe playing from Chris Crieve. The conductor shaped everything well and seldom looked at the score.

Prokofiev’s second Suite from the ballet “Romeo and Juliet,” Op. 64, concluded the first half. In seven parts the music from the mid 1930s was played with all the composer’s trademarks of the time: lush harmonies, brilliant brass, long thematic lines and limpid instrumental duos with solo violinist Pam Osuka.. The short references to Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony from 1936 were underlined in a duet from bassoonist Miranda Kincaid and flutist Emily Reynolds, and allusions to Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” were in this princely music. Mr. Gamboa directed with mastery the shimmering fabric and potent climaxes of the long Suite that never felt long.

In the finale (Romeo and Juliet’s Grave) tenor saxophone Ken Ward and celeste player Alice Chan were standouts. There was a sad texture to this section, punctuated by a piccolo solo in the long decrescendo at the end.

Following intermission Liebermann’s Flute Concerto, Op. 39, was played, and is a popular (for a flute concerto) 1992 work that featured Sonoma County virtuoso Kathleen Lane Reynolds. Some might say “local girl makes good” but such a comment is inane, as Ms. Reynolds is a mature musician that has played splendidly for years with the Santa Rosa Symphony. The choice of the Liebermann was a savvy program selection as the work is harmonically grateful and made the most of the soloist’s formidable interpretative command.

Parts of the three-movement Concerto reflect movie music, not a bad thing from masters such as Korngold, Copland and Liebermann. Ms. Reynolds played the high-register runs and surprise turns in the Moderato with easy aplomb, giving a feeling of vistas opening. There were captivating and balanced duets between the solo flute and the orchestra, and Mr. Gamboa's hand was light when it needed to be. In the lyrical Adagio connections with the “Romeo and Juliet” Suite were evident in modulations, generous resonance and the Ms. Reynolds’ sound that oddly approximated the oboe at times. This savory playing had perfect breath control, leading up to meditative and long-held final note.

The concluding racehorse Presto featured the soloist’s quick upward phrases and accurate octave skips. I have heard the movement played faster with mastery equal to that of Ms. Reynolds, but the acceleration to the end was imposing and brought the audience of 400 to their feet with loud applause.

Of course bundles of flowers were quickly brought to Ms. Reynolds, some by Santa Rosa Symphony colleagues, and was indication of the the esteem with which they hold her artistry.