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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
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.