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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...
CHORAL AND VOCAL REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Saturday, April 16, 2016
Chanticleer. Michael Bresnahan and Brian Hinman, tenor; Eric Alatorre, bass; Matthew Knickman, baritone; Marques Jerrell Ruff, bass-baritone; Nate Pence and Danita Mara Seth, soprano; Cortez Mitchell, Alan Reinhardt and Adam Ward, alrto

Chanticleer

CHANTICLEER SINGS TO THE MOON IN WEILL HALL CONCERT

by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, April 16, 2016

The renowned male a cappella  Chanticleer choir presented an "Over the Moon" program April 15 at the Green Music Centers Weill Hall.  The audience, including many choral music cognoscenti, was entranced by a varied and enriching program spanning centuries and continents. The theme of the evening was the moon that affects us in every aspect of our lives, physical, emotional, spiritual and even our moments of craziness. The pieces selected reflected this idea in multi faceted ways.
  
Radiating enthusiasm and confidence, the eleven singers strode onto the stage, elegant in tuxedos, and all their movements well coordinated. They launched immediately into Gerald Finzi's joyful "My Spirit Sang All Day,” followed by Monteverdi, Elgar’s "There is sweet music" and a second Monteverdi composition.  The sound was clear and rich, the blending of voices exquisite and nuanced, They sang of the exhilaration of love and of comfort to lovers. These songs from the 16th century and the 20th century, Italy and England, complemented each other. The singers effectively moved in and out of different positions and groupings. The hall provided a remarkable space for this choir to be heard in all its beauty of choral sounds.
   
The next set included four Renaissance composers, Orlando di Lasso, Busnois, Parsons and Josquin Desprez. A spoken introduction informed the audience of the great inventions of the Renaissance in every field, the pushing of boundaries and composers' desire to "unlock mysteries of the heavens." Lasso's Conditor alma siderum had the beauty of unison melting into full choir, at times creating organ-like sounds. Busnois’ (1430-1492)Gaude, celestis domino was the earliest piece and was full of playful and complex cross rhythms building to a joyful ending, and the singers were intensely watchful and mindful of each other. Robert Parsons’ Ave Maria was enchanting in its simplicity and harmonic beauty. The singing was effortless and natural. The Desprez Benedicta had the singers communicating palpably with the each other and the audience.
  
The third set moved from the Renaissance to "right now" with composer Nico Muhly. The Three Moon Songs was based on poetry by Giraud and were a 2015 commission. The first, "Harlequin,” presented charming soprano lines over repeated patterns making use of dissonance, humor and was always musically intelligible. Then "Moondrunk,” which had a robust solo by Marques Jerrell Ruff, had intriguing harmonies. The third of the set was received with delight by the audience - "The Alphabet" featured two soloists weaving around in jazzy scat style against a serious choir. Sudden stops and starts in the midst of perpetual motion and some vaudeville type gestures brought the audience to appreciative laughter.
  
Following the humor and liveliness, two profoundly moving Mahler masterpieces were sung. The first, Liebst du um Schoenheit (arr. Jennings), featured ethereal soprano notes and a solo by Cortez Mitchell over orchestral choir accompaniment. This was an audience favorite. The second, "Ich bin der Welt abandon gekommen", was performed with deep emotion and conveyed a sense of being rooted in great humanity and love. This set of Mahler songs was able to bring many in the hall to tears of joy and perhaps sorrow.

After an intermission of spirited lobby conversations and shared musical experiences the ensemble returned with a spectacular choral composition by Jaakko Mantyjarvi (b. 1963), “The tide rises, the tide falls.” Over a drone bass, waves of motives rose and fell. With simple means, this composer created a piece of depth and lovely motion. The sound of the choir was rich and full of color. This was followed by Mason Bates' Observer in the Magellanic Cloud, a futuristic piece exploring "primitive and mystery over the moon." At times intriguing, at others inscrutable, it was an experiment in different cultural effects and concepts.

Stephen Paulus's set from "The Lotus Lovers" (poetry by Tsu Yeh ) had variety of choral effects and techniques. There were fragmented phrases, beautiful glissandos, romantic harmonies and lively rhythmical singing ending with exciting bass octave jumps. A favorite was the one titled "All Night.” To end this exhilarating evening in a lighter mood, Chanticleer presented various arrangements of standards and traditional spirituals. The highly arranged "Fly me to the Moon" and "Moon River" were professionally performed though perhaps contrived. "There is a Balm in Gilead" (arr. Jennings) with magnificent soloist Mr. Ruff was compelling. Moses Hogan's "Ride the Chariot" was elating. The audience rose to applaud enthusiastically and brought Chanticleer back for an encore, "La Vie en Rose".
  
This was an evening of journeying through many phases of light and dark. As the words in Elgar's composition stated, "There is sweet music.”