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Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
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.