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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...
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
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
Recital
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Recital
MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
Recital
SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Lee Ormasa
Friday, April 21, 2017
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
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.