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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
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.