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SIX GUITARISTS IN UNIQUE NAPA RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The first Napa Valley Guitar Festival was held at Napa’s First Presbyterian Church July 25, and featured performances from six classical guitarists. The Church is an iconic structure in downtown Napa, its huge white presence dominating the scene, and the white theme continues inside punctuated by be
Chamber
CLARA SCHUMANN TRIO COMMANDS VOM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT AT HANNA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Series has begun several virtual and a few live concerts in its new seventh season, some broadcast from Sonoma’s Hanna Center Hall and some in posh local venues. July 24’s video had a small live audience and a well-produced video program of three works. Titled “
Chamber
EXEMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MENDO FESTIVAL FT. BRAGG CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Faced with the impossibility of presenting concerts in the iconic large white tent on the bluff, the Mendocino Music Festival opted to use Ft. Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium for ten events in the abbreviated 35th season. San Francisco’s Alexander String Quartet played July 21 to a fully masked audience
Chamber
ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING AT PIANOSONOMA CONCERT IN SCHROEDER HALL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
After a dark year bereft of live performance, pianoSonoma launched July 20 the first Vino & Vibrato concert of the 2021 season in Sonoma State's Schroeder Hall, albeit sadly senza vino due to Covid protocols. Three exceptional musicians showered the audience with an interesting variety of pia
Chamber
RARELY-PLAYED SCHUMANN HIGHLIGHTS HEALDSBURG RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Brave New Music sporadically produces concerts in and around Healdsburg, and July 10’s violin recital in downtown St. Paul’s Church must have been one of the first post-lockdown, post-be-extra-careful classical music concerts in Sonoma County's summer season. New Music Founder Gary McLaughlin with
Chamber
ECHOS ON A WARM SUMMER NIGHT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, July 10, 2021
ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s first concert in a year and a half, “A Musical Promenade,” was a promenade indeed. When patrons arrived at San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for the 6:00 performance July 10, they were funneled through the garden to the Duncan Hall patio, where folding chairs were set
Chamber
LONG DISTANCE LOVE BEGINS VOM SUMMER FESTIVAL
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Thursday, June 24, 2021
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival offered a 7th season preview June 24 with a stunning online concert, aptly named Long Distance Love, featuring inspired performances of Beethoven's short song cycle An die ferne Geliebte,, and selections from Brahms’ beloved Liebeslieder Wal
Recital
ROMERO'S ARTISTRY IN SLV RECITAL PROGRAMMING AND PERFORMANCE
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Gustavo Romero has been an admired visitor to North Bay stages, playing over a decade recitals at Dominican University, the Music at Oakmont concerts and at the Spring Lake Village Concert Series. He returned June 2 to SLV in a virtual recital, videoed from his home concert hall the University of N
RUBICON'S VIRTUAL CONCERT A MALANGE OF CONTRASTS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 16, 2021
The inaugural concert of a new Mendocino County chamber group is a reason for celebration, and the Rubicon Trio made the most of a mixed musical menu during a May16 virtual concert. Presented by the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra as the last in their “Salons with the Symphony” Series, the Rubicon began w
Recital
PIANO VIRTUOSITY IN YAKUSHEV'S REDWOOD ARTS RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev’s recital for the Redwood Arts Council was perhaps the local season’s virtual music at the greatest distance, as the filming May 16 came from a church in St. Petersburg. And good filming it was, with multiple camera viewpoints of the church, full and split screens and
CHAMBER REVIEW

Goodhart, Neese, Ellis, Tolstova, Schoenthal, Wright, Flor in Sebastopol

MUSICAL IMAGES A LA FLOR ET AL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 16, 2014

Laureano Flor is a bit of a Renaissance man: pianist, concert producer, computer-science teacher, sartorial personage. Many of his manifold talents were in place on Valentine's Day in a multi-performer concert for 75 in the renovated Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

The program's title, "Images of Music," was apt, with three of 19th-century landscape painter Frederick Church's works providing the backdrop for three of composer Daniel Baldwin's bucolic and plaintive pieces. Performed by clarinetist Carla Schoenthal, bassoonist Karen Wright, French hornist Ben Robinson and Mr. Floor, the musical atmosphere was at turns minimalistic and even New Age, Mr. Flor's playing giving a murmuring and mysterious foundation to the lofty wind instruments above.

Pianist Charlotte Ellis joined Mr. Flor for two short Rachmaninoff works, the slow movements (Op. 5, No. 3, and Op.17, No. 3) from the popular Two Suites for two pianos. Slow was the operative term, the pianists squeezing every drop of emotion from the two circa 1900 pieces to the detriment of majesty and contrast. Tatyana Goodhart was the next artist to play with the ubiquitous Mr. Floor, in Ravel's arrangement of two of Debussy's orchestra nocturnes, "Nuages" and "Fetes." The tempos selected were again slow, and the balances favored the larger stage piano, with Ms. Goodhart performing the filigree of "Nuages" elegantly.

The remaining eight works on the program brought various singers to the mix, with Ms. Ellis, Ms. Goodhart and Mr. Flor taking the piano parts. Of special interest were soprano Bethany Neese and tenor Adrian Boyer in the "Recuerdo" song by Charlotte Ellis, and the final three short songs with Ms. Goodhart and soprano Marina Tolstova. Ms. Tolstova's operatic voice tended to overshadow the evening's other vocalists and overpower Rachmaninoff's "A Dream" (Op. 8, No.7) and "Spring Waters" (Op. 14, No. 11). The resolute Russian soprano finished the concert with a thrilling "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's opera "Gianni Schicchi," her voice at times sliding between notes. Although powerful in sound, it lacked tonal warmth and charm.

Since late 2012, the Arts Center has been in the remodeled Sonoma County Veterans Hall in downtown Sebastopol, an ideal setting for public concerts and social events. Executive Director Linda Galleta and Mr. Flor make an ideal pair to stimulate productions of live music in this semi-cozy venue.