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Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
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.