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Chamber
EXTRAVAGANT FUSION OF STYLES AT CHRIS BOTTI BAND WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Jerry Dibble
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Trumpeter Chris Botti still performs in jazz venues including SF Jazz and The Blue Note, but now appears mostly in cavernous halls or on outdoor stages like the Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. He brought his unique road show to the packed Weill Hall August 12 in a concert of effusive e...
Chamber
SCHUBERT "MIT SCHLAG" AT VOM FESTIVAL MORNING CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
The spirit of 19th century Vienna was present July 29 on the final day of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival in the second half of July glittered with innovative programming and the new, old sound of original instruments played by musicians who love music with historic instruments. ...
Chamber
PASSIONATE BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG MUSIC CLOSES VOM FESTIVAL SUMMER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 29, 2018
An extraordinary program of chamber music by Brahms and Schoenberg attracted a capacity crowd to the Valley of the Moon Music Festival’s final concert July 29th in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. It opened with a richly expressive reading by Festival Laureate violinist Rachell Wong and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur...
Chamber
PRAGUE AND VIENNA PALACE GEMS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The remarkable Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented a concert called “Kinsky Palace” July 28 on their final Festival weekend in Sonoma’s Hanna Center. Two well-known treasures and one lesser gem were programmed. Starting the afternoon offerings were violinist Monica Huggett and Fest...
Chamber
INNOVATIVE CHAMBER WORKS IN HANNA CENTER CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival presented a July 22 concert featuring three giants: Haydn, Schubert and Schumann, composers who altered music of their time with creative innovations and artistic vision. In the fourth season the Festival’s theme this year is “Vienna in Transition”, and VOM Fes...
Chamber
VIENNA INSPIRATION FOR VOM FESTIVAL PROGRAM AT HANNA CENTER
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, July 21, 2018
A music-loving audience filled Sonoma’s Hanna Center Auditorium July 21 to begin a record weekend of three concerts, produced by the Valley of the Moon Music Festival. The Festival’s theme this summer is “Venice in Transition – From the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism” Prior to Saturday’s m...
Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
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.”