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Chamber
THE LINCOLN RETURNS WITH CLARKE'S PUNGENT TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, November 18, 2021
There were many familiar faces Nov. 18 during Music at Oakmont’s initial concert of the season, but perhaps the most necessary were the three musicians of the Lincoln Piano Trio, the Chicago-based group that has performed often in Oakmont since 2006. A smaller than unusual audience in Berger Audito
Symphony
NOSTALGIC BARBER KNOXVILLE AT SO CO PHIL JACKSON THEATER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
In their first Jackson Theater appearance of the new season the Sonoma County Philharmonic presented Nov. 14 a program devoid of novelty, but showcasing the “People’s Orchestra” in splendid performance condition after a long COVID-related layoff. Conductor Norman Gamboa drew a committed and boister
Chamber
THRILLING PIANO QUINTETS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 14, 2021
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society sprang back to life on November 14 when a stellar ensemble from the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based collective, arrived to perform two piano quintets: Vaughn-Williams’ in C Minor (1903), little known and rarely performed; and Schubert’s in A Major D.
Chamber
MUSCULAR BRAHMS FROM IVES COLLECTIVE IN GLASER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Leaving SRJC’s Newman Auditorium for the first time in decades, the College’s Chamber Concert Series presented a season-opening concert Nov. 14 in Santa Rosa’s Glaser Center with the four-musician Bay-Area based Ives Collective. The season, the first given since 2020, is dedicated to Series Founder
Symphony
MONUMENTAL BRAHMS SYMPHONY HIGHLIGHTS MARIN SYMPHONY RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 7, 2021
In the waning COVID pandemic the Marin Symphony is one of the last Bay Area orchestras to return to the stage, and they did with considerable fanfare Nov. 7 before 1,200 in Civic Center Auditorium, with resident conductor Alasdair Neale leading a demanding concert of Brahms, Schumann and New York-ba
Symphony
APOLLO'S FIRE LIGHTS UP VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Long ago the Canadian violin virtuoso Gil Shaham played a program in Weill Hall of solo Bach, with a visual backdrop of slowly developing visuals, such as a pokey flower opening over four minutes. The Bach was sensational, and some in the audience liked the photos but many found them disconcerting,
Chamber
SPARKLING WIND, STRING, HARP MUSIC AT DEVON HOUSE GARDEN CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Take a mild autumn evening, a garden gazebo with patterned rugs and lit with soft bulbs, shake in a fine chamber ensemble, add a rising new moon, and you have a recipe for the musical delight that violist Elizabeth Prior presented Oct. 9 in her Devon House Garden Concert series. The Marin Terra Li
Recital
AUTHORITATIVE BEETHOVEN SONATA IN KLEIN'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, October 8, 2021
People attending the first Redwood Arts Council Occidental concert in 20 months found a surprise – a luxurious new lobby attached to the Performing Arts Center. It was a welcome bonus to a recital given by pianist Andreas Klein where the music seemed almost as familiar as was the long shuttered hal
Symphony
MOVIE MUSIC ON THE WINDSOR GREEN IN SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 3, 2021
People approaching the Windsor Green bandstand Oct. 3 for the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s season opening concert had some cause for concern. After 18 months of silence would the all-volunteer orchestra have enough musicians for a big movie music program? After all, performers can move, retire, or
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY RETURNS IN TRIUMPH
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 3, 2021
It is often the case that a single piece or performer steals the show at a symphony concert, but at the Oct. 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the show itself stole the show. The concert opened with a serene 1982 tone poem by Libby Larsen, followed by a masterful performance by soloist Julia
CHAMBER REVIEW

(l to r) Carol Adee, Kevin Gordon, Wendy Loder, Daniel Canosa

ECHO OPENS NEW SEASON WITH PROVOCATIVE PROGRAMMING

by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, September 22, 2019

ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s season opening concert Sept. 22 featured an ambitious program of four works, ranging from 1815 to the very present. Performed in the graceful high-vaulted First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, the concert engaged rapt attention of the 70 attending. Conducted by Daniel Canosa, ECHO presents a single performance at each program and draws between 25 and 52 musicians from around the Bay Area, and the ensemble’s musical scope is far-reaching.

The evening began with one movement of Louise Ferranc’s Nonet in E-flat major, Op. 38. Scored for violin, viola, clarinet, oboe, French horn, bassoon, double bass, cello and flute, it was performed leaderless, and musical cohesion depended on the musicians listening closely to one another. Ferranc (1804-1875) was a celebrated pianist and the first femme to have a professorship at the Paris Conservatory, where she taught for 30 years. Her Nonet’s adagio-allegro movement is a sprightly introduction to the full work, transparent and charming, with solo parts for each of the nine instruments. The group could have used more rehearsal time and there was some struggling here and there with tempi, and pitch problems from the violinist. The ensemble sections were well done, and the winds and brass in particular accomplished their solos with precision and panache.

From France the musical tide flowed to Russia and Rachmaninoff’s exquisite Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14, for Soprano and Orchestra. It was originally composed for soprano or tenor and piano. Soprano Wendy Loder, who is also the orchestra’s concertmaster, was the soloist. Ms. Loder’s wide vibrato (the word “warble” comes to mind) soared from note to note on a single vowel ah. The piece has the hypnotic quality of Debussy’s Sirènes and the depth of Prokofiev’s “The Field of the Dead” from his cantata Alexander Nevsky. Mr. Canosa held the orchestra in check so that they never overwhelmed the soloist, but elegantly supported her. Each vocalist in this wordless song must choose the story to tell, and to some, it is a narrative of grief, hope and resolution. Ms. Loder chose to accentuate the sustained, lilting musical line. The audience held their applause for a brief moment, but the performance could have been even better greeted with meditative silence.

Prior to the Vocalise performance, Mr. Canosa and double bassist Kevin Gordon provided verbal notes from the stage for the world premiere of their collaborative composition, City Suite. It was inspired by their individual impressions of four cities and their collective impressions of a fifth. The form of each, they said, relates to the dances in suites by Bach. There were unfortunately no program notes but the duo’s explanation was comprehensive. For his part of the process, Mr. Canosa selected Amsterdam and Buenos Aires, the city of his birth. Mr. Gordon chose San Francisco and New York, and the two collaborated on Paris.

Each movement except for “Buenos Aires” had a subtitle of a baroque dance found in Bach: “Amsterdam” was in prelude form; “San Francisco” a bourée; “Paris” an allemande morphing into the tango rhythms of “Buenos Aires,” and “New York” a gigue. But in no other way does City Suite remind one of the Baroque period. It positively cascades with sensual and visceral impressions. “Amsterdam,” the first and most dissonant of the movements, evokes city bustle, church bells, the changing blue light of high latitude summer skies, and rhythmic, pulsing percussive bursts. “San Francisco” blended hippie, funk and fog with high tech. “Paris” incorporated a medieval chant calling on the god of love, which Ms. Loder rose to sing in Latin. The movement then swept attacca (without pause) into the tango rhythms of “Buenos Aires.” The last movement, Mr. Gordon’s “New York,” brought the Suite to an exciting climax with jazzy flair.

Flowers were presented to the conductor, soloist and Mr. Gordon, and then, laying his flowers on the floor and with true ECHO informality, Mr. Canosa simply turned to the audience and said, “Now we’ll do the Schubert.”

The Schubert was his Third Symphony in D major, composed in the summer of 1815, a few months after Schubert’s 18th birthday. Like the rest of his first six symphonies, it wasn’t published during his lifetime. The first movement, adagio maestoso—allegro con brio, began with drama but moved quickly into ebullient sound. The second movement (menuetto: vivace) evoked Mozart, and the presto vivace third was played very Rossini-like, in an almost operatic style. Despite those associations, the performance was all Schubert, full of bold experimentation and lovely melodies. The orchestra performed with skill and gusto, and the audience responded enthusiastically.

The concert was followed by a reception and art show in the Church’s social hall.