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Symphony
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 9, 2022
The Jan. 9 Santa Rosa Symphony concert was supposed to feature the world premiere of Gabriella Smith’s first symphony, but it ended up featuring another type of premiere: a concert that was conceived, rehearsed and performed in less than eight hours. Symphony staff learned on Sunday morning that so
Choral and Vocal
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS TO WEILL IN STERLING ABS MESSIAH PERFORMANCE
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Sunday, December 19, 2021
A tremendous accomplishment by the American Bach Soloists Dec. 19 was near perfect performance of Handel's Messiah in Weill Hall. Long an annual tradition at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the ABS took to the road and delivered a Christmas gift of epic proportions to an obviously thrilled and enth
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH FIFTH THUNDERS AT WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 5, 2021
In a new season marketed as “Classical Reunion,” the Santa Rosa Symphony made a palpable connection with its audience at the early December set of three standing ovation concerts in Weill Hall. The December 5 concert, with 1,000 attending, is reviewed here. Vaughan Williams’ popular Fantasia on a T
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
CHAMBER REVIEW
Valley of the Moon Music Festival / Thursday, June 24, 2021
Nikki Enfeld, soprano; Emily Marsh, contralto; Kyle Stegall, tenor; Edward Nelson, baritone; Allegra Chapman and Eric Zivian, piano

Tenor Kyle Stegall

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 Waltzes, Ops. 52 and 65, for vocal quartet and piano four-hands.

This delightful half-hour of pristine ensemble singing and playing was the perfect promotion for the upcoming Festival itself, which is entitled Love and Longing: Reaching Across the Distance. The Festival runs July 17 through August 1, and comprises both online zoom and in-person performances at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. After 15 months of live performance deprivation, this marks a joyous return for Festival participants and patrons alike.

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved, 1816) has the distinction of being the first song cycle as we know it, serving as the model for all of the great cycles of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and others that were to follow. For his text, Beethoven obtained a set of poems written by an acquaintance, a young Austrian doctor Alois Jeitteles. The poems describe the emotions and circumstances accompanying separation from one’s beloved, a theme presumably close to the composer's heart, and now even closer perhaps to this year's particular audience, for whom the last fifteen months of forced separation from loved ones has been a painfully odd and unfamiliar challenge. These six sparkling gems describing love's longing, joy and sadness in the context of being immersed in nature, and were brought to radiant life by the intensely romantic, thoughtful, masterful and sweet singing of tenor Kyle Stegall and the virtuosic playing of pianist (and Festival founder and director) Eric Zivian.

Although the Liebeslieder Waltzes (composed 1868- 1874) are now most familiar as literature standards for full chorus, the original intent was for them to be performed with four solo singers in quartet and four-hands piano, and they work gloriously this way. For his texts Brahms used folk songs and love poems from Georg Friedrich Daumer's collection entitled Polydora. These little songs also dwell on the difficulties of love, particularly when it is unrequited or frustrated by separation, a condition with which Brahms himself was well-acquainted.

Soprano Nikki Einfeld, contralto Emily Marvosh, tenor Kyle Stegall and bass Edward Nelson formed a robust, yet perfectly nuanced and balanced quartet, with beauty of voice and intonation, excellent German and strong intercommunication. Pianists Eric Zivian and Allegra Chapman provided a dazzling four-hand collaborative performance.
This abundance of gifts and skills made for an engrossing 30 minutes, and was the perfect teaser for the upcoming festival.

The proceedings were expertly recorded by Boby Borisov and filmed/edited by Mike Grittani, with satisfying acoustical tone and balance, lighting and atmosphere. And happily, all the festival recordings will be available to the audience for repeat listening until the end of 2021.