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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
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.