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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...
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.