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Recital
SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Lee Ormasa
Friday, April 21, 2017
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
Symphony
HULKING MAHLER "TITAN" AT SO CO PHIL'S SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 08, 2017
A composer’s first symphony rarely gives a clear indication of what beautiful complexities will follow over the years. Early Mozart and Tchaikovsky are examples, and the big exceptions to this axiom are the “firsts” of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. Tackling Mahler ‘s D Major Symphony (No. 1,...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
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.