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Saturday, May 21, 2022
 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong
“The most sacred duty of audiences,” said Santa Rosa Symphony Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong at their May 8 concert, “is to hear orchestral works for the first time.” The concert offered that duty in the form of a world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s “Valley of the Moon,” a programmatic work sketc...
CHAMBER
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Israeli Chamber Project
The Music at Oakmont concert May 5 in Berger Auditorium was attended with mostly masked patrons who were buzzing at the door and then made an effort to get close to the stage to hear the piano trio from the Israeli Chamber Music Project. Berger’s sonics were a bit of a challenge for the musicians w...
CHAMBER
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
HORNIST WILLIAM KLINGERHOFFER
The Navarro Trio, comprising regular members cellist Jill Brindel and pianist Marilyn Thompson, presented a concert May 1 in Schroeder Hall devoted to the music of Brahms, and were joined by violinist Jeremy Constant, William Klingerhoffer (horn) and violist Jenny Douglass. A small audience receive...
RECITAL
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
Guitarist Paul Galbraith
Paul Galbraith is a unique guitarist: his instrument is unique, his technique is unique, and his repertoire is unique. This was clearly evident in his Redwood Arts Council performance at Community Church of Sebastopol April 29. Mr. Galbraith’s guitar has eight strings, two more than the usual six, ...
SYMPHONY
VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Jeffre LaDeur's Cadenza in the Rachmaninoff Concerto
After an extended COVID wait the Vallejo Symphony returned to the city’s Empress Auditorium April 23 and 24 with a program that easily proved the long layoff didn’t lesson the VSO’s legendary quality. The Sunday performance is reviewed here. One of the highlights of the afternoon was the seldom-hea...
CHORAL AND VOCAL
A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, April 15, 2022
Carol Menke and Cantiamo Sonoma April 15
A lovely and emotional rendering of Fauré's beloved Op. 48 Requiem was presented on Good Friday by Cantiamo Sonoma at Santa Rosa's Church of the Roses. The singers of Cantiamo were joined by members of the The Roses Chancel Choir and Chamber orchestra to create a powerful yet tender and memorable p...
SYMPHONY
LUSH ORCHESTRA PLAYING IN SO CO PHIL-LLOYD MEMORIAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 3, 2022
So Co Philharmonic April 3
Continuing into the post COVID era the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a set of sensual concerts April 2 and 3 in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater, rich in instrumental splendor. The Sunday afternoon concert, attended by 250 (all masked), is reviewed here. Anthony Perry’s laconic English horn solos ...
CHAMBER
DISPARATE TRIOS IN HOLLYWOOD PIANO TRIO'S 222 CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Hollywood Piano Trio April 2 at The 222
It’s often said that opposites attract, and the two piano trios performed April 2 did attract a full house at Healdsburg’s 222 Concert Series. And yes the Schumann D Minor (Op.63) and the Shostakovich E Minor (Op. 67), composed nearly a century apart, are pretty much antipodal. Played by the Holly...
CHAMBER
TANGO IMMERSION IN MILL VALLEY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 27, 2022
QSF March 27 (A. Wasserman Photo)
Quartet San Francisco, the eclectic and adventuresome Bay Area chamber ensemble, knocked the socks off its March 27 Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience with their program of Latin and Tango music. From the heated opening bars of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango through Chick Corea’s ebullient S...
RECITAL
ALLURING GLASS WORKS IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 25, 2022
M. Haimovitz/S. Dinnerstein
On paper Matt Haimovitz’s cello recital in Weill Hall March 25 appeared a bit routine– two Beethoven Sonatas, part of a Bach Suite and a Sonata, and perhaps a newly commissioned work and an encore. All of it happened, but the inclusion of virtuoso pianist Simone Dinnerstein turned the recital menu ...
Local Concerts  
REVIEW

l to r: D. Sadava, J. Stopher, C. Stewart (A. Wasserman photo)

EXOTIC RUSSIAN MUSIC FEATURED IN MV PHIL CONCERT

by Abby Wasserman
Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Mill Valley Philharmonic, in its twenty-second year, continues to mature. Founded and nurtured by Laurie Cohen, the all-volunteer ensemble is thriving under the baton of Dana Sadava, Ms. Cohen’s successor. The orchestra performed two Russian masterworks May 14 - Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Opus 43, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s exotic Scheherazade from 1888.

As a young person recordings of these two masterworks wore deep grooves in my musical consciousness and their rich colors and compelling rhythms excited my imagination. I was happy to see a dozen children, some as young as five, attending the concert.

The Rachmaninoff opened and featured pianist Jim Stopher. Though resembling a concerto, the Rhapsody is a conversation among equals with the piano the eloquent leading voice. The composer premiered playing the piano part in 1934. The score is daunting with pianistic leaps, bounds, marches, cascades, dreams, trills, and caresses. The mood shifts from variation to variation, each one exposing new creative territory. Mr. Stopher’s pianism was energetic and precise as the orchestra soared through lush melodies, with elegant duets between the piano line and woodwinds, brass, and strings. Ms. Sadava kept a tight hold on the orchestra with accurate attacks and releases.

The work is based on the 24th and last of Paganini's Caprices for Solo Violin, and the A minor 24th is a tour-de-force that sparkles with eclectic fireworks that show off the soloist. It’s a brilliant tapestry of shifting colors. Like the Caprice that inspired it, the majority of the 24 variations are in A minor, and in the middle variations (12-18) Rachmaninoff alternates other major and minor keys before returning to A minor in No.19. Variation 18 is the universal favorite, a tender, lilting piano motif that is repeated several times by the orchestra. Rachmaninoff said of this variation, “This one is for my agent,” and history has borne out its popularity.

Mr. Stopher, the conductor of the College of Marin Symphony, swept through the twenty-four variations with élan and brisk tempos that however did not allow for much expressive interpretation. Often the piano part was overshadowed by the orchestra’s sound. It could be a quirk of the small Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church, the Philharmonic’s venue, that the sheer musical volume of the full orchestra will dominate, but there was not much opportunity with the selected tempos for the soloist to use more rubato, which would have been welcome. Mr. Stopher brought artistic phrasing and substantial energy to his performance. When the last notes were sounded, light, quiet ones, the audience responded with a standing ovation.

Following intermission, concertmaster Charmian Stewart announced that it was Ms. Sadava’s birthday, and a vigorous arrangement of “Happy Birthday” welcomed her back to the podium for Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Inspired by stories from the Arabian Nights, the work was originally programmed by the Philharmonic for 2020, but Covid-19 intervened. To finally hear this splendid piece of music live in Mill Valley was a treat.

In a verbal introduction from the stage, the conductor cited Rimsky-Korsakov’s intimate orchestral knowledge and the way he made full use of each instrument’s unique voice. Indeed, the piece glitters with musical jewels. The players performed admirably, all—winds, brass, strings, percussion. Ms. Stewart’s violin sang the eloquent voice of Scheherazade, the clever storyteller who puts off her husband, the cruel Sultan who has killed all his previous wives after their wedding night, by telling him stories, always stopping with a cliffhanger in order to keep his attention and survive for another day. The musical themes of Scheherazade and the Sultan were introduced by the orchestra beforehand and could be clearly heard throughout the roughly 49-minute performance.

The four sections of Scheherazade are The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship, The Kalandar Prince, The Young Prince and the Young Princess, and Festival at Baghdad/The Sea/The Ship Breaks Against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman. The theme of the sea is brilliantly scored, and one felt keenly the sweeping motion of the waves. The whole piece seems a dialogue of natural and human forces.

Ms. Stewart’s violin performance beautifully evoked the title character, and there was fine playing by guest harpist Constance Koo and cellist Marian Schuchman. The artistry of many orchestra instruments (oboe, flute, clarinet, trombone, double bass, percussion) effectively brought the music’s fairytale scenes to life: the crashing ocean, songs of night birds and the smell of blossoming jasmine. At the last gentle notes, the audience stood once more with prolonged applause.

Afterwards, everyone was offered ice cream and pie in the church’s social hall.



Events Calendar

SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Saturday, May 21, 2022
8:00 PM - Ukiah
Phillip Lenberg, conductor
Elgar: Serenade for Strings; Elizabeth Brown: Lost Waltz; Gabriela Lena Frank: Coqueteos; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88...
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SYMPHONY
Ukiah Symphony
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:00 PM - Ukiah
Phillip Lenberg, conductor
Elgar: Serenade for Strings; Gabriela Lena Frank: Coqueteos; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88; Elizabeth Brown: Los Waltz...
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OTHER
Santa Rosa Symphony League
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:00 PM - Healdsburg
Russian River Ramblers
New Orleans Dixieland Jazz. David Stare, host (on banjo) $45 SRS League Members, $50 for others. Food and wine provided. Music from 2 to 4 p.m. SRS League benefit Checks to Julia Wilkinson, 6529 St...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus
Sunday, May 22, 2022
3:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Marisa Troppy, director.
Vivaldi: Credo; Dan Forest: Light Beyond Shadow; music of Florence Price and Alice Parker, and TBA Tickets will be available in May. Information available at hikingscott@yahoo.com...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Friday, May 27, 2022
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach Choir; Live Oak Orchestra. Danielle Reutter-Harrah, soprano; Heidi
Mozart: C Minor Mass ("Great") and Requiem...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Sonoma Bach
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Bob Worth, conductor. Sonoma Bach Choir; Live Oak Orchestra. Danielle Reutter-Harrah, soprano; Heidi
Mozart: C Minor Mass ("Great") and Requiem...
Details

CHAMBER
Music at Oakmont
Friday, June 3, 2022
1:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Musica Pacifica. Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Ingrid Matthews, violin; Alexa Haynes-Pilon, cello/gam
Strudel with Expresso. Music of Buxtehude, Bach, Telemann, Sammartini, Schmelzer, Vivaldi and TBA Oakmont concerts are produced for Oakmont residents and their guests. Friday is a non usual day for...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Marin Baroque
Saturday, June 4, 2022
8:00 PM - San Anselmo
Daniel Canosa, Director
Handel: Coronation Anthems, and the Sinfonia "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"; Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 . Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com ...
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CHORAL AND VOCAL
Cantiamo Sonoma
Sunday, June 5, 2022
4:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cantiamo Sonoma. Carol Menke, director
A Capella Choral Music TBA, including Renaissance works The Outside concert includes wine for a pedestrian cost. Donations encouraged...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, June 11, 2022
7:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Mariachi Champaña Nevin
Respighi: The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome; Enrico Chapala Barba: Los Braceros (Cantata for Mariachi and Orchestra) - world premiere...
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