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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
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.