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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...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
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.