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Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Recital
GLOVER'S ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHT'S CINNABAR RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daniel Glover is arguably the busiest virtuoso pianist in the San Francisco Bay area, but rarely is heard in North Bay concerts. So 90 local pianophiles were anxious to hear him Feb. 17 in Petaluma’s charming small Cinnabar Theater, and they were rewarded with an eclectic program of sometimes unfam...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Sunday, July 29, 2018
Owen Dalby and Rachell Wong, violin; Andrew Gonzalez and Lauren Nelson,viola; Tanya Tomkins and Madeleine Bouissou, cello; Eric Zivian and Jeffrey LaDeur, piano

Hornist Sadie Glass

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. The performances allowed audiences to hear 18th and 19th century compositions as they might have sounded in their own time.

Two hundred attended the first program in Sonoma’s Hanna Auditorium for the Festival’s ambitious last day, and were treated to coffee, apple strudel and two lovely Schubert compositions spanning his short career. First was the G Minor Sonatina, D. 408 from 1816, one of a set of three he composed at the age of 19. Festival Apprentices Christian De Luca, piano, and violinist Sara Bleile performed the piece beautifully, with buoyancy and feeling. Its four movements (allegro giusto; andante, menuetto; allegro vivace; allegro moderato) are dominated by syncopated rhythms, repeating motifs, and unison passages. Mr. De Luca played the Mendelssohn era 1841 piano with great skill and contagious joy, and in ensemble with Ms. Bleile he communicated the nuances of the music. Ms. Bleile’s violin tone was not full, but her phrasing was delicate and precise.

There was no intermission, but the piano was moved upstage and additional music stands and chairs were placed for Schubert’s famous Octet in F Major, D. 803. It is as complex and deeply thoughtful as the preceding G minor sonatina is innocent. Inspired by Beethoven’s 1799 Septet in E-flat Major, Schubert composed the Octet in March 1824, four years before his death.

The ensemble featured clarinetist Eric Hoeprich; Monica Huggett and Susannah Foster, violin; Liana Bérubé, viola; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Anthony Manzo, double bass; Sadie Glass, natural horn; and bassoonist Kate van Orden. The theme of the first movement, adagio – allegro – più allegro, is from Schubert’s song Der Wanderer. It began with sighs from the strings and a soulful, almost operatic duo between clarinet and violin. Then unfolded a spellbinding trading of instrumental themes and phrases. The waltz-like second movement in three-quarter time, adagio, features a four-note descending motif woven throughout. After many repeated phrases and rhythmic changes, the playing turned the music into a reverie. The third movement (scherzo – allegro vivace) pulsated with dotted rhythms and the manifold instruments were perfectly balanced in volume and blended wonderfully.

The fourth movement andante, un poco più mosso - più lento spotlighted Ms. Glass’ horn artistry, and Ms. van Orden’s bassoon playing furnished mellow harmonies, while Mr. Hoeprich carried the dominant themes and Ms. Huggett played virtuosic violin flourishes. Following the fifth movement, with its oft-repeating motif, came the riveting sixth and final section, andante molto. Four distinct tempi crowded into one movement to tell a story, beginning with low thunder-like rumbles from the cello and double bass, suggestive of a brewing storm. Short jabs of sound flashed from the two violins. But instead of a storm, the music suddenly, without transition, ceased its sounds of changing weather. As though a door had opened and shut, a party atmosphere prevailed, all gaiety and festivities.

Then the metaphoric door opened a final time, the music returning to the storm in progress. With this musical sleight of hand the Octet swirled to a close, and generated a standing ovation from many in the audience.