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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...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
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.