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Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, June 28, 2015
Malcolm Matthews, organ

Organist Malcolm Matthews

TWO EXEMPLARY ORGAN RECITALS HIGHLIGHT CHAMBERFEST

by James Harrod
Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baroque music aficionados and organists were glued to their seats at Chamberfest’s June 27 and 28 when Malcolm Matthews performed two amazingly perfect recitals of Baroque organ music from North Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The two prodigious concerts included no less than 17 selections, mostly large-scale works. Among the larger works were Bach’s Toccata and Fuge in F minor (BWV 540) and the Prelude and Fugue in A minor (BWV 543), Buxtehude’s Passacaglia in D minor (BuxWV 161) and Bruhns’ Praeludium in G. Mr. Matthews played each selection flawlessly and authentically on the beautiful Schroeder Hall Baroque mechanical action organ.

The recital was entitled “The Organ 5 B’s” in order to include a lovely chorale prelude by Brahms, and included Baroque organ “greats”: Nicolaus Bruhns (1665 - 1697), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 -1707), Georg Boehm (Böhm, 1661 - 1733), as well as Bach.

Mr. Matthews played the music with a gentle and totally consistent articulation, drawing on the instrument’s resources authentically in every part of the compositions. The long pedal passages were sounded with absolute clarity and the musical result was a calm control and intimate familiarity with the composer’s intentions. The relevance and interest of the pieces played were augmented by Mr. Matthews’s excellent introductions and explanations.

It was not possible to visualize the pedal passages being played because the instrument high in the front balcony is composed of an elevated Great Division (the Hauptwerk) and a smaller division (the Rückpositiv) placed directly behind the organist. However, a video screen to the side allowed the viewers to see the organist’s hands smoothly moving over the two manuals alternatively. Organ students could see that Mr. Matthews using an authentic Baroque fingering technique playing the manual passages!

It is important to point out that the Schroeder organ is an exact reproduction of organs built in that time and place. These instruments release air into the pipes by gossamer wires from the keys to the slider panels above. By this mechanism, the flow of air into the pipes is progressive, producing a delicately induced sound, never boring or tiring to the listener. The performer on these organs is enabled to delicately vary the touch and its resulting sound.

Malcolm Matthews’ two-day concert was a virtual master’s class in Baroque organ performance as well as super enjoyment.