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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
Symphony
TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 26, 2021
The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance. Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a
Other
CLEARY'S NEW ORLEANS BAND IGNITES PARTY FOR THE GREEN AT SSU
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 25, 2021
A dramatic and unique start to the new Green Music’s Center’ 2021-2022 season exploded in a “Party for the Green” Sept. 25, a New Orleans (NO) style commotion featuring Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band, inside and outside of Weill Hall. Beginning with a private gourmet dinner in t
GAULIST FLAVOR IN FINAL SF PIANO FESTIVAL CONCERT AT OLD FIRST
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Final summer music festival programs are often a mix of what has come before, with the theme and even a featured composer taking a last stage appearance, with a dramatic wrap up composition. San Francisco’s International Piano Festival defied the norm August 29 with an eclectic French-flavored prog
SPARE DUO PRECEDES MYSTEROUS DUO AT DEN BOER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 27, 2021
In a departure from usual summer festival fare Julia Den Boer played an August 27 virtual recital in the San Francisco Piano Festival’s 4.5 season with four works, all mostly quiet but all in separate ways insistently demanding of artist and listener. Throughout the 40 minutes there was nary a powe
HARMONIC COMPLEXITY IN PHILLIPS' ALL-GRIFFES RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 20, 2021
Charles Griffes’ piano music is similar to that of Busoni, Reger and even Poulenc, in that there is a sporadic flourish of interest with concerts and scholarly work, then a quick fade into another long period of obscurity. So, it was a delight to have an all-Griffes recital August 20 on the San F
Chamber
ONE PIANO, TWO PIANO, THREE PIANO, FORE
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Schroeder Hall was nearly full July 29 for the final pianoSonoma concert of their season, and presumably the draw and highlight for many of the 150 attending was Bach’s Concerto for Four Pianos. And that performance was probably going to be a North Bay premiere. However, it wasn’t the highl
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, September 26, 2021
Alexander Kahn, conductor. Matthew Bowker, saxophone; Isabella Grimes, flute

Saxophonist Matthew Bowker

TWO WIND SOLOISTS CHARM AT SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 26, 2021

The house of music has many rooms. That dusty adage was never truer than when Weill Hall Sept. 25 hosted a roaring New Orleans-style musical party, and less than a day later a mostly sedate Sonoma State University student orchestra performance.

Before a crowd of 200 conductor Alexander Kahn led a first have of two abbreviated concertos, and happily a non-shortened reading of Mozart’s 36th Symphony, the C Major “Linz,” K. 425.
In his remarks to the audience Mr. Kahn explained that the Mozart composed the 1783 work in four days, but that nary a note of the four-movement seems rushed or slapdash. Mozart slapdash? Well perhaps at times, but not here as it’s inventive and sure footed from first to last.

The conductor’s tempos were quite relaxed over the 26-minute performance, the scrappy ensemble of 23 responding well to the score’s demands for precise attacks and releases and attention to string intonation. Horn playing gave appropriate contrast to the strings and the tympanist Charles Gomez contributed a steady beat. Articulation in the courtly Menuetto was exemplary.

Mr. Kahn led an exuberant Presto finale, reminiscent of the first movement’s motives and prescient to the great C Major Symphony (“Jupiter”) that would come in four years, with another six repeated movement-ending chords.

Mozart began the concert with the opening movement of his G Major Flute Concerto, K. 313, with Isabella Grimes playing the virtuoso solo. She was best in the high register sections (as of course is the flute) with clear runs and accurate octave drops. I didn’t recognize the cadenza, not as long or complicated as is a cadenza played by Jean Pierre Rampal, and perhaps it is the composer’s own. In any case, she played it well and received loud applause from a contingent of students in the hall, and several bouquets including one from her teacher Kathleen Lane Reynolds.

The first half concluded with the second movement (Larghetto – Animato molto) of Ibert’s Saxophone Concertino, with Matthew Bowker the soloist. Playing from score Mr. Bowker’s opening was haunting, a rich languorous sound that carried throughout Weill that quickly was augmented by Cooper Ysais’s bassoon line. The violins were too muted here, and when the upbeat Animato came distinct notes were blurred in faster passages. Mr. Bowker nailed the movement’s contrasts, with a faint saxophone reminder of a Wagner’s use of the English Horn in Tristan und Isolde’s third act. The lyricism was underscored by the Orchestra’s sonorous bass and cello lines.

Mr. Kahn’s spirited ensembles three more performances this season - a concert featuring compositions by American Indian composers (Nov. 20); a family concert Feb. 26; and April 30 in Weill with “An Evening in Buenos Aires," music of Piazzolla, Golijov and Ginastera. Information is at http://music.sonoma.edu/ensembles/symphony-orchestra.