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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 SaŽns, 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 Orchestraís new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasserís Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANEíS BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphonyís former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwinís ďAn American in ParisĒ), emotional (Barberís violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Villageís monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trioís performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosaís premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarroís late February concert in Sonoma Stateís Schroeder Hall, Northern Californiaís other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican Universityís Angelico Hall. Clearly each hallís acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Marin Symphony / Sunday, March 01, 2009
Of Britain, Bizet and Balanchine
Alasdair Neale, conductor
Jeremy Constant, violin
Marin Symphony Chorus
with guest pre-concert appearance by Katita Waldo, San Francisco Ballet

Jeremy Constant

CONSTANT BEAUTY AT MARIN SYMPHONY

by
Sunday, March 01, 2009

A stormy night did not seem to deter an enthusiastic Marin County audience March 1 from attending the fourth concert of the Marin Symphony 2008-2009 season. Marinís Civic Auditorium was nearly filled to capacity to hear the Orchestraís own concertmaster, violinist Jeremy Constant, and Marinís Symphony Chorus perform works by the English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and Georges Bizetís (1838-1875) Symphony No. 1 in C Major.

The Lark Ascending, composed before World War I and based on lines by British poet George Meredith, was superbly performed by Mr. Constant on his 1700 Stradivarius. This work is a stunning and beautiful poem of musical imagery. After the orchestraís brief introduction, Mr. Constantís solo entrance began a five-note theme that instantly depicted the gracious bird soaring higher to the heavens. Mr. Constantís performance was breathtaking and the audience seemed to be captivated with every note. This work is lyrical and often nostalgic, and Mr. Constantís unforgettable performance set the tone for another memorable evening with the Marin Symphony. A standing ovation for Mr. Constant was certainly deserved.

Juxtaposed to the resounding ďLarkĒ was a performance of the composerís powerful Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace), sung by the Symphony Chorus under the direction of Stephen McKersie, and accompanied by the orchestra. This is a reflective and thought-provoking statement to the horrors of war. Composed in 1936, it was the composerís plea (and warning of wars to come) for peace after his own horrific experiences during World War I. Inspired by Walt Whitmanís poetry and selected Biblical passages, Dona Nobis Pacem is sung in six movements and performed without a break. Solo sections connect the six movementís passionate entreaties for concord, and were hauntingly sung by soprano Helen Zindarsian and baritone Matt Trevino. Although written in English, the lyrics were projected on a screen behind the orchestra so the audience could easily understand the plaintive poetry and literary message of the composer. It was a welcome addition, giving the entire listening experience even more impact.

In keeping with the Symphonyís homage to music written for the dance, the concluding work was Bizetís effervescent Symphony. Composed in 1855 when Bizet was seventeen and a student at the Paris Conservatory, it was lost and forgotten until 1933, when it was discovered and finally premiered two years later. It has been in a standard in the orchestral repertoire since that time, and in 1947 choreographer George Balanchine created a version for the New York City Ballet Company. The Marin Symphony, under the baton of Alasdair Neale, presented a praiseworthy and commendable performance, with special kudos to the Principal Oboist, Margot Golding, for her expressive and chaste playing of the main theme in the second movement. The Orchestra played well all evening, the elegance of the strings and section balances superb.