Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
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...
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.