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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.