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Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 04, 2018
When the ATOS Piano Trio planned their all-Russian touring program at their Berlin home base, it had a strong elegiac, even tragic theme that surely resonated with their Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience Nov. 4 in Mill Valley. Comprised of Annette von Hehn, violin; Thomas Hoppe, piano; and...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN OCCIDENTAL CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 03, 2018
When the Berlin-based ATOS Piano Trio entered the cramped Occidental Performing Arts stage Nov. 3, the audience of 100 anticipated familiar works in the announced all-Russian program. What they got was a selection of rarely-plays trios, with a gamut of emotions. Then one-movement Rachmaninoff G Mi...
Symphony
MIGHTY SHOSTAKOVICH 10TH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Just two works were on the opening program of the Marin Symphony’s 67th season Oct. 28, Tchaikovsky’s iconic D Major Violin Concerto, and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony. Before a full house in the Marin Center Auditorium conductor Alasdair Neale set a judicious opening tempo in the brief orchestra i...
Symphony
VIVALDI FOR ALL SEASONS IN WEILL BAROQUE CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, October 27, 2018
The Venice Baroque Orchestra, a dozen superb musicians that include strings, harpsichord and recorder, played an uplifting concert Oct. 27 of mostly Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos. The Weill Hall audience of 600 had rapt attention throughout, and the playing was of the highest musical level. This r...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Echo Chamber Orchestra / Sunday, September 30, 2018
Daniel Canosa, Conductor. Dan Ferreira, Clarinet

D. Ferreira and D. Canosa Sept. 30 (Abby Wasserman Photo)

ECHO'S RICH MUSICAL TAPESTRY IN MARIN

by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Marin’s Echo Chamber Orchestra unfurled a glorious tapestry of Mozart, Weber and Respighi music Sept. 30 in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church. The church, located on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary, boasts a ceiling high enough for angels to fly, and its quiet setting and acoustical warmth enhanced the musical experience.

Conducted by Daniel Canosa, the ambitious program opened with Mozart’s last Symphony in C major, K. 551, the “Jupiter.” Composed in 1788, it demands a “Mozartian” perfection of sonic balance and clarity of expression. Mr. Canosa’s tempos were brisk, and the orchestra’s sections, some in this performance comprising a single instrument, blended admirably. The first chords (“Jupiter’s thunderbolts”) of the opening allegro vivace produced a palpable thrill that lasted through the movement. In the pastoral andante cantabile second movement the six violinists in the section, led by concertmaster Wendy Loder, carried the singing line while the mourning voices of the woodwinds reminded one that perhaps Mozart was working on his Requiem Mass when he composed this Symphony. A light-hearted and finely articulated minuetto followed.

The tour de force finale, allegro molto in five-part fugue, emerged here in shaky ensemble, with the strong brass section too often dominating the string’s soaring melodic lines. The final six identical chords capped the performance of a monumental piece.

Carl Maria von Weber is famous for his operas, and his E-flat Clarinet Concertino Op. 26 (J. 109), is an operatic piece for an instrument that arguably is most like the human voice. The Concertino introduced the piece in operatic style with the clarinet projecting the music like a great diva. Soloist Dan Ferreira, the orchestra’s principal clarinetist, illuminated every note with emotion and style. Weber wrote the one-movement piece (adagio ma non troppo-andante-allegro) so that the clarinet never has to compete with the orchestra for sonic clarity. Each lilting and cascading solo passage holds the stage, as a singer would. The ensemble lets loose when the clarinet rests, and in this performance their entrances were sometimes overly emphatic. Mr. Ferreira’s expressive performance of the piece was convincing and elegant, and he was received with a prolonged ovation.

There was no intermission in the program, but none was needed. Mr. Canosa continued with Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano (Botticelli Triptych), a suite of tone poems inspired by three famous paintings by the early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. Respighi was a master of highly colored and intricate orchestration, and a music scholar who often incorporated fragments of early music into his impressionist compositions.

The triptych opens with Primavera. Here the Echo ensemble achieved an exquisite balance of sound, and a chorus of birdsong, gentle breezes, and exuberant life springing from the earth were musically evoked by the various sections. L’adorazione dei Magi (The Adoration of the Magi) was reverent and celebratory, yet contained subtle musical intimations of tragedy to come in the life of the newborn Jesus. The Christian hymn, ”O Come, O Come Emanuel” is intertwined in this tone poem, with intriguing modulations. Notable among the soloists in L’adorazione were oboist Bennie Cottone, flutist Carol Adee, bassoonist Chloe Watson and percussionist Kevin Neuhoff.

The third piece, La nascita di Venere (the Birth of Venus) intersperses calm and quiet with a bountiful gathering force of sonority. Echo’s strings sections were especially virtuosic here. At the end, the audience held their applause for a moment, and then gave an enthusiastic standing ovation.

A reception followed in the church’s social hall with the musicians and conductor. Now in its fourth season, Echo Chamber Orchestra is gathering attention, attracting musicians from as far away as Mendocino, and the performance launched an auspicious four-concert series.