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Opera
VERDI'S THEATRICAL LA TRAVIATA TRIUMPHS AT CINNABAR
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Symphony
MARIACHI MEETS ORCHESTRA AT THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Choral and Vocal
RARE MOZART COUPLING COMPLETES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, May 28, 2022
EXOTIC RUSSIAN MUSIC FEATURED IN MV PHIL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PREMIERES DAUGHERTY SKETCHES OF SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Chamber
BRAHMS-ERA TRIOS HIGHLIGHT OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT
by Nicholas Xelenis
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Chamber
CHAMBER GEMS OF BRAHMS IN TRIO NAVARRO'S SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Judy Walker
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Recital
UNIQUE ELEGANCE IN GALBRAITH GUITAR RECITAL
by Gary Digman
Friday, April 29, 2022
Symphony
VSO'S ELEGANT PASTORAL SYMPHONY SHINES IN EMPRESS RETURN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Choral and Vocal
A SPIRITUAL FAURE REQUIEM IN GOOD FRIDAY CANTIAMO CONCERT
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Friday, April 15, 2022
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.