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Recital
HOME RECITAL BACH COMPLETES HOLIDAY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 30, 2017
The just closing 2017 year was a calamity for many, but locally in music there were joys galore, and it was fitting Dec. 30 have the balm of two Bach’s violin sonatas in a private Guerneville home recital hosted by the eminent musician Sonia Tubridy. Violinist Richard Heinberg joined Ms. Tubridy in...
Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE WITH SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Sunday, November 29, 2015
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Violinist Augustin Hadelich

FESTIVE ENCHANTMENT FROM THE ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Nov. 29 presented a program of variety and imagination to an enthusiastic audience in Weill Hall. Aptly named for Orpheo, the musician and prophet of Greek myth, the orchestra, with violinist Augustin Hadelich as soloist, could indeed "enchant all living things and even stones.” Founded in 1972 this chamber orchestra has no conductor. Members share all decisions and responsibilities, rotating seating to give leadership opportunities to all.

Handel's Concerto Grosso, Op. 5, No. 5, introduced music that had rich full sound and piquant phrase shaping. The Overture featured buoyant dotted rhythms, contrasts of solos and orchestra and playing that always had direction and clarity of purpose. The Allegro fugal movement and the lighthearted Presto were followed by an elegant Largo and then two joyful fast movements with variations.

Stravinsky composed the ballet Le Baiser de la Fee (The Fairy's Kiss), partly as an homage to Tchaikovsky, whom he idolized. Mr. Hadelich (playing a Stradivari) spoke to the audience about his love for this piece as it exists for violin and piano. The version heard here for violin and orchestra was commissioned by OCO from Dmitry Sitkovetsky and was full of fantastic playful ideas, syncopated folk rhythms, drone sounds on the violin and crazy waltzes. Always colorful and engaging, it was a romp through landscapes of sound and rhythms, woodwinds providing contrast to the strings and romantic violin passages interspersed with technical fireworks for the violinist. In this piece, lovely cello solos and harp accompaniments added to the pleasure.

Following intermission Mr. Hadelich returned with the orchestra to play Tchaikovsky's Waltz-Scherzo. This young Italian/German artist is one of the world's outstanding violinists. His technical mastery and impeccable bow control had violinists in the audience of 500 nodding their heads in amazement as he played. The blend of soloist and orchestra was balanced at all times, and the performance was vibrant and crisp, overflowing with excitement while contained in the elegance of a waltz. The end of this piece had the audience members on their feet applauding what was clearly an experience of greatness.

Schubert's B-flat Symphony (No. 5, D. 485) was the delightful final piece in this program. Musicians moved around again in their seat positions for new configurations of performing. This symphony was pure joy with the chamber music flexibility of OCO’s playing. Its power is in elegance and the youthful fervor and optimism of the music. The spirits of Haydn and Mozart are present throughout and the dark passages rise and lift us into light. Each movement was enchanting: the Allegro with its charm and fervor, the Andante with a remarkable blending of strings and winds and the Minuetto with bold unisons contrasting with light dance figures. The final Allegro Vivace unfolded with excitement and dramatic flurries alternating with calm and order.

Sustained applause brought the orchestra back for an encore, Respighi's The Birds. Full of humor and surprising sounds, the performance offered dozens of different chirps, trills, caws, warbles, squeaks, quacks, hoots and more. It was wonderfully humorous and conveyed well the spell of Orpheus.