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Chamber
PERFORMER AS PROMOTER: CLARA SCHUMANN AND MUSICAL SALONS CLOSE VOM FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 28, 2019
The July 28 closing performance of the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival could have been subtitled "Friends", as it was devoted to works by both Clara and Robert Schumann, and those of their friends and protégés Brahms and virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, with whom Clara toured extensively...
Chamber
ROMANTIC CHAMBER WORKS HIGHLIGHT VOM FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Now in its 5th season the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival presented July 27 a concert titled “My Brilliant Sister,” featuring Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s compositions for combinations of voice, fortepiano and strings. Fanny and her brother Felix were close, and Felix occasionally published ...
Symphony
ROMANTIC DREAMS AT THE MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kayleen Asbo
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Romanticism, contrary to many popular perceptions, wasn’t simply about diving into the habitat of the heart. Romanticism began as a literary movement that elevated the power of nature as a transcendent force and sought with keen nostalgia to rediscover the wisdom of the past. The Romantics in both l...
Chamber
CHAUSSON CONCERTO SHINES IN A VISIONARY'S SALON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Ernest Chausson’s four-movement Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet (1891) is neither concerto nor sonata nor symphony, but it somehow manages to be all three, especially when played with fire and conviction by an accomplished soloist. Those incendiary and emotional elements w...
Chamber
EUROPEAN SALON MUSIC CAPTIVATES AT VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, July 21, 2019
Two stunning programs of 19th and 20th century chamber music were presented on July 21 and 28 as part of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival at the Hanna Center in Sonoma. Festival founders and directors pianist Eric Zivian and cellist Tanya Tompkins were both on hand to contribute brilliantly at ...
Chamber
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATIONS IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 20, 2019
A Lovely summer afternoon in Sonoma Valley, an excellent small concert hall, enthusiastic audience, exciting musicians and creative programming with interesting story lines. All these were combined July 20 at a Valley of the Moon Festival concert titled “An Italian in Paris.” This is the fifth seaso...
Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festival’s 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
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.