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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
RECITAL REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, October 16, 2016
Robert Hew Morgan, organ

Stanford University Organist Robert Huw Morgan

MORGAN'S ORGAN VIRTUOSITY SHINES IN ALL BACH RECITAL IN SCHROEDER

by James Harrod
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Robert Huw Morgan, Stanford University’s consummate organist, returned to the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall October 16 to play a thrilling recital of great Bach organ music from mostly Bach’s Cöthen period.

Professor Morgan’s eclectic program included the Prelude and Fugue in E Flat Major, BWV 552a and 552b; Trio Sonata No. 5 in C major, BWV 529; Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537; Pastorale for Organ in F major, BWV 590; and two chorale preludes: “Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele”, BWV 624 and “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier”, BWV 731.

Mr. Morgan performed this technically challenging program with an effortless, articulated touch on the two manuals and pedals. The artist’s articulation of the rapidly executed phrases was amazingly clear and even throughout the entire performance. He played Bach’s complicated ornamental figures so gently listeners might have believed they were only figments of imagination!

Bach’s wonderful E Flat prelude from the Third Part of the Clavier Übung opened the program grandly in the pompous style of a French entrée grandé overture. The E Flat fugue, in three parts, often known as the St. Anne, closed the program in equally magisterial style. The fugal sections are firstly a grand chorale, then a swirl of fantasy on a fragment of the same motif, and lastly an exuberant dance of triplets in 12/8 time.

Much could be said about the performance of each of these seminal works. All parts of this magnificent recital were played with authentic organ stop registration typical of Bach’s own time and with consummate skill. Mr. Morgan showed his appreciation for the Schroeder’s Baroque North German mechanical (also known as “tracker”) instrument by generously attributing all of the musical credit for the program to the organ, rather than to himself. He commented from the organ loft at the concert’s beginning that the instrument was an inspirational joy to play, but not always easy task to accomplish.

The nearly full audience instinctively knew that Mr. Morgan’s virtuosic playing would be wonderful on any instrument.