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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...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
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.