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Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
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 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.