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Chamber
HEROIC TRUMPET AND ORGAN MUSIC AT INCARNATION
by Jerry Dibble
Friday, October 12, 2018
The strong connections between Santa Rosa’s musical community and California State University Chico were on display Oct. 12 as David Rothe, Professor Emeritus in the Chico Music Department, and Ayako Nakamura, trumpet with the North State Symphony, presented a concert titled “Heroic Music for Trumpe...
Symphony
LECCE-CHONG PROVES HIS METTLE WITH SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 07, 2018
Francesco Lecce-Chong was handed two warhorses for his debut as conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony, and he rode them both to thrilling victory. For the first win, Brahms’ violin concerto, he owed much to soloist Arnaud Sussman, but for the other triumph, Beethoven’s fifth symphony, he and his musi...
Chamber
THORNY BARTOK AND ELEGANT MENDELSSOHN FOR THE BRENTANO
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, September 30, 2018
In a minor masterpiece of programming choices the Brentano String Quartet played a Sept. 30 Weill Hall program with an emphasis on refinement, even with a challenging Bartok work in the mix. Dvorák’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola (Op. 75a) opened the concert with charm and gentle loveliness,...
Chamber
ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and aco...
Recital
IDIOMATIC SCHUMANN AND BEETHOVEN HIGHTLIGHT WALKER'S CONCERTS GRAND RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Mostly known as a concert producer and indefatigable promoter of Sonoma County music, pianist Judy Walker stepped into the soloist’s role Sept. 23 in a sold out recital for the Concerts Grand House recitals series. Two Scarlatti Sonatas, in D Minor (K. 213) and D Major (K. 29), began the hour-long ...
Symphony
SAKAKEENY'S LION AND ROSE HIGHLIGHTS SO CO PHIL'S 20TH SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Fresh from a triumphant tour in Latin America the Sonoma County Philharmonic opened its 20th season Sept. 22 in a celebratory concert in the Santa Rosa High School Auditorium. Keeping to the evening’s orchestra history and past performance, conductor emeritus Gabriel Sakakeeny, who led the So Co Ph...
Recital
DEDIK'S POTENT BEETHOVEN AND CHOPIN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Monday, September 17, 2018
Anastasia Dedik returned Sept. 17 to the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series in a recital that featured three familiar virtuoso works in potent interpretations. Chopin’s G Minor Ballade hasn’t been heard in Sonoma County public concerts since a long-ago Earl Wild performance, and Beethoven’s...
Recital
DUO WEST OPENS OCCIDENTAL CONCERT SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 09, 2018
Before a full house at the Occidental Performing Arts Center Sept. 9 the cello-piano Duo West, playing from score throughout, presented a recital that on paper looked stimulating and thoughtful. Beginning with MacDowell’s To A Wild Rose (from Woodland Sketches, Op. 51), the transcription by an unan...
Chamber
CELLO-PIANO DUO IN HUSKY SPRING LAKE VILLAGE PROGRAM
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Two thirds of the way through a stimulating 22-concert season the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series Sept. 5 presented two splendid cello sonatas before 110 people in the Village’s Montgomery auditorium. A duo for more than a decade, East Bay musicians cellist Monica Scott and pianist Hadle...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
MasterCard Performance Series / Sunday, April 24, 2016
Matthias Goerne, baritonel Alexander Schmalcz, piano

Baritone Matthias Goerne

A WANDERING MILLER IN SCHUBERT'S AGELESS CYCLE

by Mark Kratz
Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Green Center’s Weill Hall is a Sonoma County treasure that allows North Bay audiences to enjoy the world’s finest musicians against the backdrop of our grapevine-covered hills. German baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Alexander Schmalcz presented a recital of Schubert’s song cycle "Die Schöne Müllerin" April 24 that exemplified skilled musicianship and artistry, and again proved the importance of a place like the Green Center.

Before the recital I noticed the diversity in the audience with a wide range of ages, and also recognized many faces of local vocal teachers, students and performers.

Die Schöne Müllerin is a cycle comprised of twenty individual songs, and the poems are by early 19th century German poet Wilhelm Müller. The story is about a wandering miller who happens upon a brook, which leads him to a mill. He gains employment at the mill and falls in love with the miller’s daughter. Though he never verbalizes his love, the young miller becomes jealous when the miller’s daughter becomes affectionate with a hunter. The wandering miller resolves to die in the brook. One is never certain whether the brook is friend or foe in this story.

From a technical view the cycle is demanding and lasts about an hour long with no interruption. The twenty songs take the singer through both high and low range extremities. Schubert’s music travels back and forth between light and dark sonorities and major and minor tonalities, demonstrating the emotions of the characters in the story. A singer must bring a skilled palette of vocal colors to this work. Mr. Goerne’s highly refined technique allowed for an effortless and polished performance.

The singer has a large lyric baritone voice. His lower range is rich and satisfying, while at the same time, he can create sweet resonant mixed voices in his top range that even tenors would be envious of. Mr. Goerne phrased in beautifully shaped long lines. A moment that embodied both delicate phrasing and gorgeously sung mixed voice was during the sixth song “Der Neugierige” (The Inquisitive one.) The miller only wants the brook to tell him, “Yes, the girl loves you.” The miller says to the brook, “O brooklet of my love, How silent you are today! Just one thing I want to hear, One tiny word, all around.” The end of this phrase was tender and magical.

Schubert wanted to move away from the popular classical period view of the piano as accompaniment and wanted to give the piano a voice equal to the singer. The accompaniments in this work are like a stream of water. It is constantly propelling the singer ahead as in the second song “Wohin?” (Where?) Mr. Schmalcz showed hypersensitivity switching between minor and major tonalities specifically in the eighteenth work “Trockne Blumen” (Dry Flowers), and his piano interludes in the sixteenth work “Die Liebe Farbe” (The Beloved Color) were hauntingly beautiful.

These sterling artists brought musical mastery to the Weill stage with their recital of Schubert’s 1823 masterpiece, and were in complete technical control and created an unforgettable afternoon of German lieder.