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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...
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.