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Symphony
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Symphony
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Choral and Vocal
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Symphony
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Chamber
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Chamber
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Recital
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Symphony
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SYMPHONY REVIEW
American Philharmonic Sonoma County / Saturday, May 4, 2013
Cyrus Ginwala, conductor. Tom Hyde, trumpet

Tom Hyde, trumpet

PRAYERS AND REDEMPTION FROM THE APSC

by Nicki Bell
Saturday, May 4, 2013

For its final set of the 2012-13 season on May 4 and 5, the American Philharmonic of Sonoma County offered a program titled "Prayer and Redemption." The first half consisted of the prayers, the second of the joy of redemption. Guest conductor Cyrus Ginwala spoke about the pieces beforehand and then led the orchestra in a program full of orchestral color, excitement, immediacy, tight ensemble and good balance.

The performance was enhanced by the orchestra's new home at Santa Rosa High School Auditorium, which has excellent acoustics--far better than their old venue at Wells Fargo Center.

The program opened with Turina's "La Oracion del Torero" (The Bullfighter's Prayer), originally written for lute quartet, then string quartet and tonight with full string orchestra. The many strings, singing together, produced a rich and warm sound, abounding with Spanish rhythms and flavor. The violins, violas and cellos wove around each other in a shimmering dance. The tender and lovely clarity of the sound was soothing and restful.

Tom Hyde, principal trumpet in the orchestra since its beginning, and a musician of great experience, was the soloist in Hovaness's "Prayer of St. Gregory," originally written as part of an opera. From the opening string reveries, the trumpet unfolded its melody. The soloist alternated sailing above and then dipping into a sea of strings, invoking a voice from the heart. The audience looked indeed in heaven as the lights came up.

If the first half was two tasty appetizers, the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 of the second half was a hearty main course and dessert. As Maestro Ginwala said in his introduction, this symphony needs no explanation. Its mystical language is so immediate, it goes right to the soul. An hour long, the music is a feast of orchestral colors--an organic entity, luscious and constantly transforming, alive and vivid. There were many special moments from the opening with cellos and deep basses, then horns, emerging from shadow--to lovely passages with English horn, clarinet, oboe and unison string sections that soared. The music enveloped a rapt audience.

The third movement is a gorgeous love song, a lullaby giving way to powerful climaxes, building and spilling, releasing to gentleness, fading at the end to gradual silence. An exuberant dance picked up the last movement, the brass and percussion leading to a thrilling, powerful climax. The audience went nuts, jumping to its feet, stomping, yelling and whistling. It was clearly a fulfilling performance for one and all.