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SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma County Philharmonic / Saturday, February 14, 2015
Reginald Nasciemento, conductor. Dylan McKinstry, mandolin

Conductor Reginaldo Nacimento

LENGTH? HEAVENLY LENGTH AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Bruckner Symphony performance can be a demanding task for both the orchestra and audience, as each of the nine are long and musically wandering. But not all that wander are lost, as the Sonoma County Philharmonic proved in their Feb. 15 concert in the Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Center.

Led by guest conductor Reginaldo Nascimento the SCP took on the E Major 7th (ďLyricĒ) Symphony in a performance that lasted 63 minutes. The work is long but itís a heavenly length, the conductor crafting a beguiling opening and controlling the pace throughout. Brucknerís symphonies have protracted climaxes, often even more extended than in similar Sibelius and Tchaikovsky works, and here they had heft and fervor without bombast. Solos from Debra Scheuerman (flute) and clarinetist Jeff Chan were elegant. There is a grand and majestic arch in the first movement that was arrestingly played, and the theme in the cellos was aptly supported by the horns and violas.

In the Adagio the great C Major climax in upward steps was thunderous and the SCP gave the finale the needed solemnity and even festive humor. As often with this orchestra the releases were cleaner than the attacks. Floyd Reinhartís tuba playing was outstanding, as were the short solo segments from trumpeter Tom Hyde. A long ovation ensued for a performance that for most of the 400 attending didnít seem all that extended.

Israeli composer Avner Dormanís Mandolin Concerto with Dylan McKinstry opened the concert, and was a curious mixture of pungent orchestra motives, strong tremolo projection from the solo instrument and stretches of silence. There was an esoteric shimmer to the mandolinís sound, often in 2nds and 3rds, and the Orchestraís strings sounded well in pizzicato and with minimal vibrato. Violist Pam Otsuka played a chaste solo.

In this music that has strains of David Diamond and Rodrigoís Aranjuez Fantasy the soloist mounted a short cadenza that grew in volume and intensity, his right hand a blur and his artistic focus palpable.

At intermission SCP resident conductor Norman Gamboa presented Mr. McKinstry with the organizationís 2014-2015 Youngís Artist Award, and the customary raffle found two delighted winners.