Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
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...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Marin Symphony / Sunday, April 05, 2009
The Rite of Spring
Alasdair Neale, conductor
Monica Daniel-Barker, flute
Dan Levitan, harp
Sierra Carnaval

Marin Symphony's Monica Daniel-Barker

COLORFUL DISSONANCES DRIVE STRAVINSKY WORK IN MARIN

by
Sunday, April 05, 2009

Without doubt, the Marin Symphony concert April 5 was a tour de force performance of exceptional virtuosity and brilliance. From the opening local premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Carnaval to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Conductor Alasdair Neale led an evening with the stress on orchestra bravura.

Sierra’s work, commissioned by the Northern California Magnum Opus project, is a spirited piece in five parts, evoking the composer’s rich imagination of mythical creatures consisting of “Gargoyles, Sphinxes, Unicorns, Dragons and The Phoenix.” Born in Puerto Rico but principally trained in Europe, Roberto's exuberantly-crafted Carnival reflects the rich Latin rhythms of his homeland, while the score is structured in the classical symphonic tradition. Though this music is not easily assimilated at first hearing, Sierra’s rhythmic wizardry combined with the succinct structure brought the five character sketches together into a cohesive whole. It is an extraordinary piece, worthy of more performances. Special kudos go to the four members of the percussion section who brought the pungent rhythms to the fore with excitement and aplomb.

In sharp contrast, the program’s next work was Mozart’s Concerto in C Major for Flute and Harp, K. 299, performed by flutist Monica Daniel-Barker and harpist Dan Levitan. Composed in three movements, this charming duo concerto was beautifully played, both soloists the principals with the Symphony. Typical for Mozart’s time, this concerto was composed for the salon and not for a large concert hall. Yet Daniel-Barker and Levitan successfully communicated to the capacity audience the overflowing lyricism of this expressive Mozart concerto, written in Paris when the composer was 22. The andantino slow movement was richly colored, the themes for flute sublime.

Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), composed in 1910-12, is an extraordinary work, perhaps the most influential symphonic piece of the 20th Century. Although controversial in its 1913 Paris debut, it is as clear and logical as any music one hears today. Written in Switzerland as a ritual pagan ballet, exotic dancers from the Ballet Afsaneh in Woodacre were invited to the pre-concert lecture to explain the imagery of ancient Asiatic cultures. Stravinsky’s polytonalities, polyrhythms and uncanny knowledge of orchestration express his musical ideas with momentous force. The Exalted Sacrifice segment was positively exhilarating, and the Orchestra’s performance of dissonance for purposes of color generated impressive musical energy.