Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
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...
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.”