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Symphony
SOLO BRILLIANCE IN SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Opera
OPERA GEMS IN COZY SEBASTOPOL THEATER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, February 9, 2024
Choral and Vocal
LUSTROUS VOCAL SOUND AT KUZMA'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Symphony
HAYDEN'S SAXOPHONE CONCERTO AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Ron Teplitz
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Chamber
SPIRITUAL STRING MUSIC IN BLACK OAK ENSEMBLE'S MARIN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Chamber
VIRTUOSIC HARP RECITAL AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Chamber
EMOTIONAL BLOCH PIECE HIGHLIGHTS PELED'S RAC RECITAL
by Peter Lert
Sunday, January 21, 2024
Chamber
OYSTER TRIO AT THE ROSE SIGNATURE SERIES
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Chamber
CANTABILE CHARMS IN MIXED 222 GALLERY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Choral and Vocal
A GRAND DIVA'S SHIMMERING AND PROVOCATIVE RECITAL IN WEILL HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, January 11, 2024
CHAMBER REVIEW
ECHO Chamber Orchestra / Saturday, June 17, 2023
Daniel Canosa, conductor
Doug Morton, trumpet (pictured)
Brooke Aird, violin
Joel Cohen, cello
Margot Golding, oboe
Steven Braunstein, bassoon

Clarinetists Kyle Beard (l) and Matt Rupert June 17

ECHO'S PROGRESSIVE MUSICAL FEAST

by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, June 17, 2023

A progressive dinner is where each course of a meal is served at a different venue—appetizers one place, entrée the next. A stroll allows time to relish each offering. So it was with ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s progressive “Musical Promenade” June 17. The appetizers (for horns, flutes, and clarinets) were offered in the inner courtyard of the First Presbyterian Church in San Anselmo, and the orchestral entrées were presented in the spacious sanctuary.

The first appetizer was a B-Flat Horn Quartet, Op. 38, by the German composer Friedrich Constantin Homilius (1813-1902). Beautiful harmonies by ECHO regulars Beth Milne and Ruth Wilson and guest artists Rachel Aragaki and Jason Whitney blended with a gentle breeze and the scent of blooming flowers. The little-known composer was a horn player in a military band, later first chair at the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg, a professor at the Conservatory and the director of the Philharmonic Society. Of the Quartet’s three movements, the first had military overtones, the second was a tender and tremulous Andante, and the third was like a ride on a galloping horse. The musicians played in wonderful ensemble.

“Don’t turn around, let it waft over you,” Carol Adee advised as she and fellow flutist Jane Lenoir climbed to the back balcony to perform Charles Koechlin’s Sonate Pour Deux flutes, Op. 75. The flutes twined round one another like ribbons, sometimes fluttering, prancing and spritely with trilling passages. The entrancing work was accompanied by avian chirps from resident sparrows. Towards the end of the second movement, a church bell began chiming from the seminary church nearby. Ms. Adee and Ms. Lenoir stopped to wait it out, but the chimes kept chiming, and Ms. Adee quipped, “Is it midnight?” Finally, the ringing ceased and the flutists resumed with the sweet third movement.

Attention switched down to the courtyard once more, with Kyle Beard and Matt Rupert performing three Tango Duets for clarinets arranged by Michele Mangani: “La Cumparsita,” “Hernando’s Hideaway,” and “El Choclo.” It was superb playing, although to my ear the clarinet as a voice cannot express the tango’s voluptuousness (for that, a bandeleon is needed), but these arrangements are surely a gift to the woodwinds.

The audience now moved to the sanctuary, taking seats in the pew for the orchestral works on the program, beginning with Haydn’s B-flat major Sinfonia Concertante, composed in 1792. It featured four soloists whom Ms. Adee likened to four characters in an opera: Brooke Aird, violin; Margot Golding, oboe; bassoonist Steve Braunstein, and cellist Joel Cohen. Each played their part with winning zest and eloquence and the spirited backing of the chamber orchestra under Daniel Canosa’s direction. The briskly paced performance was delightful from start to finish.

The sumptuous dessert of the evening was Tumbao Suite for Symphony Orchestra, which its composer, Horacio Fernández Vázquez, a student at the Julliard School, adjusted to fit ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s numbers. Admittedly the scaled-down chamber version lacked some of the sonorous percussive effects of the original, and the complex rhythms and sonorities sometimes clashed, requiring intense concentration by the musicians.

There were times when cacophony threatened to overwhelm melody, but the dissonances were exciting. A few times the piece sounded like it might come off the rails but Mr. Canosa’s control was exemplary.
It is a percussion and brass-heavy composition, and percussionists Cassandra Firmin, Kyle Baldwin and Christian Foster-Howes were excellent. Doug Morton’s rousing trumpet solos and guest pianist Naomi Johnson were equally impressive.