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Monday, November 28, 2022
 Recent Reviews
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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...
RECITAL
ASSERTIVE PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Pianist Ilya Yakushev
Russian based pianist Ilya Yakushev has had many North Coast engagements, playing recently in Mill Valley and Healdsburg, and Nov. 13 in the Redwood Arts Council’s Occidental 43rd season a recital originally postponed due to COVID restrictions. As is currently the custom and part of Mr. Yakushev’s ...
SYMPHONY
SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Pianist Connor Roham
What’s a surefire opening work for a symphony concert? A Rossini overture? Bernstein’s Candide? Gershwin? The Sonoma County Philharmonic’s opener Nov. 12 hit a home run with the sprightly Dance of the Hours from Act Three of Ponchielli’s Opera La Gioconda. The 10-minute work featured harpist Chris...
CHAMBER
CONTRASTS GALORE AT THE VIANO'S CONCERT AT THE 222
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 11, 2022
Viano String Quartet
Continuing a splendid series of downtown Friday evening concerts, Healdsburg’s 222 Art Gallery and Performance Venue presented the Viano String Quartet on Armistice Day in two widely contrasting works. Contrasts indeed, as Haydn’s G Major Quartet, Op.76, No. 1, fits the Viano like an old shoe, the ...
SYMPHONY
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Composer Wynton Marsalis
The first unusual sight to greet patrons at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 6 concert was a bare-bones drum set at the front of the stage. The second was watching the musicians stomp their feet when a fundraising announcement mentioned that the Symphony League provides refreshments during rehearsals....
CHORAL AND VOCAL
TRAVELS WITH SEBASTIAN IN SONOMA BACH'S OPENER IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Henry Lebedinsky
First up in this season of Sonoma Bach’s Bach’s World series was an Oct. 29 concert in Schroeder that focused on Bach and three of his contemporaries: teacher and friend Georg Böhm, the French composer Nicolas Bernier and the Italian Francesco Bartolomeo Conti. For this “Travels with Sebas...
SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRAL SPLENDOR IN MARIN SYMPHONY'S SEASON OPENER
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Simone Porter Oct. 15 at the Marin SO (A. Wasserman Photo)
Jubilant fanfares uncorked and capped Marin Symphony’s October 15 concert, the first Masterworks program of conductor Alasdair Neale’s final season with the orchestra. The first fanfare, just three minutes long but sonorous and impactful, was Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, Part One, w...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
CANTIAMO BLOOMS AT CHURCH OF THE ROSES
by Pamela Hicks Galley
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Director Carol Menke
As part of the Church of the Roses’ "Signature Concert Series,” Cantiamo Sonoma, under the direction of Carol Menke, presented an afternoon of exceptionally beautiful and impeccably prepared a capella literature to a full and appreciative house on Sunday, Oct. 9. The program duration was a perfect n...
CHAMBER
DRAMATIC SHOSTAKOVICH SONATA HIGHLIGHTS BOSCO-GABRIELSON CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Cellist Carol Ann Bosco
Redwood Arts Council’s long running concert series opened its new season Oct. 9 with a beguiling concert of music for cello and piano in the Occidental Center for the Performing Arts. After considerable audience education talk from the stage, Washington D. C.-based cellist Carol Ann Bosco joined S...
SYMPHONY
BUCOLIC DAY AND MUSIC AT UKIAH SYMPHONY'S OPENING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 2, 2022
P. Yarbrough, S. Zielinski, P. Lenberg Oct. 2
People arriving at the Mendocino College campus usually have the same reaction – a lovely quiet place, birds chirping, sounds of distant tennis, hardly anyone around. Bucolic indeed, and that seemed the overarching theme of the Ukiah Symphony’s season opening concerts Oct. 1 and 2 in the College’s ...
Local Concerts  
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Saturday, November 19, 2022
SSU Symphony. Alexander Kahn, conductor. Hikaru Hallberg, piano; Dan Norris, director

Conductor Alexander Kahn

SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022

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 control was a singular success, the attacks good, the tempos over the four movements persuasive and the instrumental soloists fluent.

The D Minor Symphony from 1937 demands a large ensemble, and presumably the Sonoma State Music Department supplied its most advanced players, with just a sprinkle of non-University people. The broad lyrical first theme had a questioning menace in the high strings. So much of the interpretation was varied, and led to a semi-harsh conclusion and faint wispy scales in the celesta. Sierra Smith’s solo flute and clarinetist Emma Hofhenke’s playing all evening was exemplary.

Could such achievement continue? It did in the short scherzo that was played almost as a respite from the somber first and third movements. Parts of the composer’s neglected Fourth Symphony (my favorite) crept into the mix. String intonation wavered at the start of the great Largo that has no brass but long melodies. There was a fetching laconic piano/piccolo duet (Mike Wang and Alyssa Cunningham) and Elias Ramos’ long and sorrowful English horn solo. The celesta line shimmered over strings at the end.

The finale (allegro non troppo) unfolded at a brisk clip that the violin section articulation had difficulty managing, but things settled down and Mr. Kahn shaped the many climaxes with authority. This sometimes grim music exposes any section weakness, but none was on display here, the Orchestra’s brass taking a central exalting role and trumpeting palpable optimism in the march-like music.

In the famous 1959 New York Philharmonic recording Leonard Bernstein slowed the closing momentum and the let the massive drum strokes resonate to the skies, but Mr. Kahn kept things more subdued and moving with equal impact. A tsunami of applause greeted the final chords and the conductor had various performers and sections stand to share the spotlight.

The concert opened with 13-musicians playing from the stage-rear loft the finale from Victor Ewald’s Brass Quintet No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 5, conducted by Dan Norris. Two tubas were featured and the music was warmly welcomed by brass aficionados in the audience.

Shostakovich’s F Major Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 102, completed the first half, and soloist Hikaru Hallberg delivered an understated reading that in the first movement allegro was covered by the orchestra.
Virtuoso pianist Jorge Bolet once told his students that one difficulty in playing with an orchestra “is to tell the conductor that the orchestra is too loud. There are a hundred ways to do this, and you will have to find one.”

Sonics improved later with lovely flute playing and in the andante the beguiling almost movie music theme was deftly played by high strings and cellos. The performance had an atmospheric shimmer and was light-footed along with Mr. Hallberg’s fast phrases and note repetition in the finale, the conductor critically keeping a steady beat with the pianist and spotlighting the many pizzicato sections of the music.

Responding to loud applause and friendly catcalls from the 500 attending, Mr. Hallberg played an encore, a four-minute improvisation that had bits of Keith Jarrett but ultimately I suspect was his own composition.

Events Calendar

CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Thursday, December 1, 2022
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, director
Candlelight Christmas. A Cappella music of Sweelinck, Britten, Tavener, Pärt, Gjeilo, Oliver Tarney, Peter Bloesch, Andrej Makor and Kim André Arnesen Tickets: 707 892-0717...
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CHAMBER
Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Concerts
Friday, December 2, 2022
7:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Miro String Quartet
Program TBA...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Friday, December 2, 2022
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, director
Candlelight Christmas. Music of Sweelinck, Britten, Tavener, Pärt, Gjeilo, Oliver Tarney, Peter Bloesch, Andrej Makor and Kim André Arnesen A Cappella. Tickets at 707 892-0717...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, December 3, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Elizabeth Prior, viola; Kelly Nassief, soprano; Abigale Nims, mezz
Vaughan Williams: Flors Campi - Suite for Viola, Orchestra and chorus; Jessie Montgomery: Sour Force; Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, December 4, 2022
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Elizabeth Prior, viola; Christopher Pfund, tenor; Abigail Nims, me
Vaughan Williams: Flos Campi - Suite for Viola, Orchestra and Chorus; Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D; Jessie Montgomery: Soul Force...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, December 5, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Michael Dean, bass; Elizabeth Prior, viola; Abigail Nims, mezzo s
Jessie Montgomery: Soul Force; Vaughan Williams: Flos Campi - Suite for Viola, Orchestra and Chorus; Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D...
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CHAMBER
Music at Oakmont
Thursday, December 8, 2022
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Shannon Lee, violin; Melivia Raharjo, piano
Pärt: Fratres; Mozart: G Major Sonata K. 379; Tchaikovsky: Three pieces, Op. 42; Arseniy Gusev: Four Inventions for Solo Violin; Stravinsky: Divertimento from the Ballet "The Fairy's Kiss" (arr. by St...
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SYMPHONY
College of Marin
Saturday, December 10, 2022
3:00 PM - Kentfield
COM Symphony Orchestra. Jim Stopher, conductor
Offenbach: excerpts from the "Tales of Hofmann"; Dvorák: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88 Free admission and parking. Proof of COVID vaccination required...
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OTHER
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Sunday, December 11, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Sonoma State University. Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Andy Collinsworth, conductor American River Colle
Coleridge Taylor: Christmas Overture; Tyler S. Grant: Sweet Dreams; Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; Danny Elfman: Nightmare Before Christmas ; Dukas: The S...
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OTHER
Sonoma State University Department of Music
Monday, December 12, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Sonoma State University Concert Band, Andy Collinsworth- conductor. Noma Winds, Kim Mieder, conducto
Noma Winds; Carol Brittin Chambers: Night Fury; David Bobrowitz: The Iron Pagoda; Kevin Day: Rocketship!; St. Saëns: Adagio From Symphony No. 3 (arr. Ken Morely); Wagner: Elsa'sProcession to the Cathe...
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