Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
TURINA PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS SSU FACULTY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Violinist Gail Hernández Rosa
Music Faculty members used to be obligated to play a formal recital each year, at least in conservatories. But fortunately Sonoma State’s most frequent faculty performers, pianist Marilyn Thompson and cellist Jill Brindel, perform around here regularly and were joined Jan. 28 by violinist Gail Hern...
CHAMBER
ROMANTIC FERVOR IN FRISSON ENSEMBLE'S RAC CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 22, 2023
Frisson Ensemble's Faure Trio Performance
New York’s Frisson Ensemble mounted an eclectic program at the Redwood Arts Council’s Jan. 22 concert that was long on informality and high on convincing artistry. Eighty attended in the Occidental Center for the Arts. Britten’s Phantasy Quartet from 1933 opened the formal program featuring oboist...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
ORGAN-CHOIR COMBO IN BACH CELEBRATION
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 21, 2023
A. Laver (top left) and B. Worth (bottom right) Jan. 21
Arriving early Jan. 21 for the 3 p.m. organ recital in Schroeder Hall, this reviewer found an already engaged large audience with no organ sounding. It was Sonoma Bach’s popular “Bachgrounder” that precedes each concert, and long-time Music Director Bob Worth was describing from the stage the majest...
RECITAL
FRENCH FLAVOR IN RARE FOUR-HAND RECITAL
by Judy Walker
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Pianist Nancy Hayashibara
As part of their Roses Signature Concert Series Santa Rosa’s Church of the Roses presented Jan. 15 a piano four-hands recital performed by Marilyn Thompson and Nance Hayashibara. The program consisted of a familiar combination of primarily French works plus a selection from the lively Brahms Hungari...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
POTENT HANDEL ORATORIO IN ABS' WEILL HALL HOLIDAY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Jeffrey Thomas (r) in Weill Hall Dce. 18
Celebrated large ensemble visitors to Weill Hall have included the San Francisco Symphony and the American Bach Soloists (ABS), but neither of these prestigious groups have been heard here in many years. Schedules perhaps, or husky fees? The San Francisco-based ABS rectified that hiatus with a sen...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
HALLELUJAH! MARIN ORATORIO IN HOLIDAY SPLENDOR CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, December 17, 2022
C. Montalbo and (r) A. Gianoloa-Norris (A. Wasserman photo)
The James Dunn Theatre at the College of Marin rang with Christmas spirit Dec. 17 as the Marin Oratorio, directed by Paul Smith, performed Vivaldi’s Gloria and St. Saëns’ Oratorio de Noel, Op. 12. An audience of 260 mostly masked and vaxed attendees were also treated to an encore: the rousing Hallel...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
SILVER ANNIVERSARY BACH RECITAL AT INCARNATION'S EVENSONG SERVICE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Composer J. S. Bach
Santa Rosas’s Church of the Incarnation has always been a local center for organ music, and Dec. 4 was the 25th anniversary of the installation of its splendid Casavant instrument that has 1,886 metal and wood pipes. What better way to celebrate the many years of service to church and area music th...
SYMPHONY
JOY, LOVELY DIVINE SPARK!
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 4, 2022
SRS Dec. 4 in Weill Hall (P. Salyer Photo)
For the Dec. 4 Santa Rosa Symphony concert at the Green Music Center, the parking lot was full, and so was Weill Hall ... and so was the stage, including the choir loft at the back. The reason for all the fullness came down to the final ecstatic phrase of Beethoven’s Ninth, the star attraction of th...
OTHER
DINOVA PIANISM CHARMS SATED AUDIENCE AT J-B MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Pianist Halida Dinova
Russian born and Cleveland-based pianist Halida Dinova has had many engagements with the J-B piano emporium in San Rafael, and she returned there Nov. 20 for an afternoon recital of mixed and shorter repertoire. Performing on the small stage and surrounded with 60 grands for sale or rent, Ms. Dinov...
SYMPHONY
SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Conductor Alexander Kahn
It was a daunting prospect - a fledgling college orchestra tackling the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony. Even conductor Alexander Kahn for the Nov. 19 concert in Weill Hall said from the stage that “programming it was a leap of faith.” Not to worry. The 49-minute performance under Mr. Kahn’s artistic ...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Santa Rosa Symphony / Sunday, January 22, 2023
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor

Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff

RACH-ING OUT: SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY EXPLORES HOLLYWOOD’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH RACHMANINOFF

by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 22, 2023

It’s no accident that many classic movie scores sound like Sergei Rachmaninoff might have had a hand in them. For the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Jan. 22 concert at Sonoma State’s Weill Hall titled “RACH and the Hollywood Sound,” the second in a series devised by Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, the orchestra highlighted the Rachmaninoff influence on old Hollywood by playing two movie scores alongside the composer’s Symphony No. 2.

Franz Waxman’s suite from The Nun’s Story (1959) was an effective opener, establishing a seriously foreboding mood within the first few measures. The orchestration was instantly familiar, with the strings playing a stepwise melody encircled by the brass. The unfurling of the theme was frequently dramatic, with Stravinsky-like rhythms coursing through the orchestra. A single held note at the end with bells chiming in the background brought the proceedings to a dramatic close.

A more accurate title for Max Steiner’s suite from Gone With the Wind could be Tara in the Wind, so frequently does he invoke the character’s eight-note motif. As Lecce-Chong pointed out in his live comments, Steiner’s orchestral score gives more details than his movie version. The first few minutes of the suite proved that observation true. Snatches of Civil War songs, including “Dixie,” rose up from the background and were quickly swallowed by the Tara theme.

The piece took a lengthy pause near the end, allowing English horn player Bennie Cottone to unleash a beautiful solo, after which the suite ended, inevitably, with a last iteration of the main theme in the brass.

Following Steiner’s heavy-handed orchestration, it was a relief to hear a different approach in Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony. The first movement featured marvelous interplay between the different orchestral sections over a low drone from the basses and deep brass. A languid melody gave way to another English horn solo and a general lifting of the mood, almost too cheerful, as if Rachmaninoff were playing with the orchestra’s range of possible sounds. The energy built as strong duplets in the strings were in counterpoint with descending triplets in the brass. Throughout this whirlwind of activity, Mr. Lecce-Chong commanded his players’ attention, bending at the knees during crucial passages and keeping his baton rock-steady. He also brought out the emotional content of the music, ranging from euphoric to subdued to melancholic.

The rapid opening of the Allegro molto second movement seemed almost redundant after the high-pitched abandon of the first. The players were still full of energy, and the strings latched on to their scampering theme with aplomb. Shortly thereafter, they put on the brakes and presented a powerful new melody, using full bows with the gathered forces of the orchestra solidly behind them. Another fast theme reared up, sparking the players to keep hurtling forward to the end. The next movement, a beautiful Adagio, opened in the cellos and migrated to the violins via a wonderful clarinet solo from Roy Zajac. An ascending six-note motif helped to unite the orchestra into a solid block of sound. Mr. Lecce-Chong was like a man walking through water, maintaining this tempo through his slow-motion conducting.

The final movement cranked up the tempo to Allegro vivace. The first violins dominated, with lengthy melodic lines stitched together from new and earlier motifs. The scurrying counterpoint diminished in interest as the movement went on, but that could have owed to the sheer length of the symphony. The original version was more than an hour long, and the Santa Rosa Symphony’s version was about 45 minutes. Cutting a few more minutes is something to think about. With the noise and flash, you can see why Hollywood took notice.

Reprinted by permission from San Francisco Classical Voice

Events Calendar

SYMPHONY
Green Music Center
Saturday, February 11, 2023
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
New Century Chamber Orchestra. Daniel Hope, director and violin. San Francisco Girls Chorus, Valéri
Lili Boulanger: Les Sirénes; Debussy: Salut Printemps; Schubert: Stänchen, D. 920; Mozart: Violin Concerto No.1 in B-Flat Major, K. 207; Haydn: Symphony in F Minor (# 49) "La Passione"; Humperdinck: S...
Details

OTHER
Daniel Adam Maltz
Sunday, February 12, 2023
1:00 PM - Healdsburg
Daniel Adam Maltz, fortepianist
Haydn: Sonatas in F Major and E-Flat Major; Mozart: Sonatas in F Major (K. 332) and C Major (K. 330) Admission: $10 students to $35 (front seating)...
Details

CHAMBER
Redwood Arts Council
Friday, February 17, 2023
7:00 PM - Occidental
Aris Quartet
Mozart: Quartet in C Major, KV. 465 (Dissonant); Mendelssohn: A Minor Quartet, Op. 80; Grieg: G Minor Quartet, Op. 27...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, February 18, 2023
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Lili Boulanger: D'un soir triste, d'un matin de printemps; Glass: The Canyon; Ravel: Concerto in G Major; Debussy: La Mer...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, February 19, 2023
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Ravel: Concerto in G; Debussy: La Mer; Glass: The Canyon; Lili Boulanger: D'un soir triste and D'un matin de printemps...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, February 20, 2023
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor. Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Ravel: Concerto in G; Lili Boulanger: D'un matin de printemps and D'un soir triste; Glass: The Canyon; Debussy: La Mer...
Details

OTHER
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Thursday, February 23, 2023
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Christa Durand and Krista Wigle, soprano; Yvonne Wormer, piano
Music to include works by Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Florence Price, Fauré, Puccini, Meyerbeer, and Massenet...
Details

CHAMBER
Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Concerts
Friday, February 24, 2023
7:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Catalyst Quartet
Program TBA...
Details

SYMPHONY
Vallejo Symphony
Saturday, February 25, 2023
8:00 PM - Vallejo
Marc Taddei, conductor; Elizabeth Dorman, piano
Greig: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16; Julia Perry: TBA; Ravel: Mother Goose Ballet Suite...
Details

SYMPHONY
Vallejo Symphony
Sunday, February 26, 2023
3:00 PM - Vallejo
Marc Taddei, conductor. Elizabeth Dorman, piano
Grieg: A Minor Concerto, Op. 16; Ravel: Bother Goose Ballet Suite; Julia Perry: work for orchestra TBA...
Details