Poignancy and passion, or possibly “Sturm and Drang,” was certainly the intended focus of the Marin Symphony’s third concert of the season Feb. 1in San Rafael’s Marin Center’s auditorium.
Music Director Alasdair Neale led the orchestra in three works by Haydn and Mozart that typify this late 18th-Century movement of emotionalism and passion. It was the beginning of a new form replacing the old. Haydn’s Symphony No. 49 in F minor (La Passione) began the evening and the four movements... more
The fourth “chapter” of the Marin Symphony’s “Season of the Scribe” continued Feb. 28 when Alasdair Neale conducted an inspiring program of Debussy, Copland, and Tchaikovsky in the Marin Civic Center Auditorium.
Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” began the concert with the Orchestra painting one of Debussy’s most impressionistic and popular orchestral works. Principal flutist Monica Daniel-Barker opened the Debussy with an evocative solo, a descent to a tritone below the ... more
Conductor Alasdair Neale saved the best for last Nov. 1 in the Marin Symphony’s concert at the Marin Center when he announced that guest violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn would perform and lead the orchestra in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons after Intermission, instead of the scheduled first spot on the program. As an alternative, Mr. Neale began the evening’s enjoyable concert with Mozart’s eloquent and dramatic G-Minor Symphony No. 40, K. 550.
Composed in four movements, the Symphony from ... more
The alluring and always enduring music of the American composer George Gershwin thrilled a capacity audience at the Marin Symphony season’s opening concert Oct. 4. While the composer is widely known for many popular tunes in his time, his musical genius is also sharply obvious in his orchestral works and more serious musical forms. Four of these works were heard in the Marin Center, captivating the audience.
The Cuban Overture, composed in 1931, was an inspiration from a brief v... more
There are times when hearing a concert in an intimate space is more suitable to an inspired musical performance, as opposed to the large venues we occupy today. Such was the concert heard June 24 in Tiburon’s cozy St. Hilary Church, part of the Tiburon Music Festival, when pianist Paul Smith led cellist Farley Pearce, violinists Pamela Carey and Susannah Barley, and flutist Carol Adee in stunning performances of four virtuoso works by Beethoven, Mozart and Korngold.
Without doubt, the Marin Symphony concert April 5 was a tour de force performance of exceptional virtuosity and brilliance. From the opening local premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Carnaval to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Conductor Alasdair Neale led an evening with the stress on orchestra bravura.
Sierra’s work, commissioned by the Northern California Magnum Opus project, is a spirited piece in five parts, evoking the composer’s rich imagination of mythical creatures consisting of... more
A stormy night did not seem to deter an enthusiastic Marin County audience March 1 from attending the fourth concert of the Marin Symphony 2008-2009 season. Marin’s Civic Auditorium was nearly filled to capacity to hear the Orchestra’s own concertmaster, violinist Jeremy Constant, and Marin’s Symphony Chorus perform works by the English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and Georges Bizet’s (1838-1875) Symphony No. 1 in C Major.
The Lark Ascending, composed before World War... more
The Marin Symphony, in keeping with the season’s theme of the dance, performed two big Bartok and Prokofiev Suites Jan. 18 at the Marin Center, masterfully conducted by Alasdair Neale.
The initial audience interest rested with these provocative works, but the concert’s spotlight finally rested on David Requiro, cello soloist in Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme”, Op. 33. Despite being a youthful 23, Requiro is clearly a mature performer. An Oakland native and Naumberg Com... more
The Marin Symphony’s second concert of the 2008-09 concert season welcomed the return of the American pianist Orion Weiss, who previously performed Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the symphony during the 2007 season. The youthful Weiss once again demonstrated his artistic maturity with Beethoven’s sublime Fourth Piano Concerto, Op. 58. Weiss’s sensitive phrasing and impeccable technique communicated to the very back rows of the Marin Civic Center auditorium, captivating the large audien... more
A new 2008-2009 season for the Marin Symphony began Oct. 5 in a varied program dedicated to the connection between classical music and dance. The year’s theme is Wind Beneath The Wings, and in the opener Alasdair Neale conducted an upbeat, if not unique, set of works with Latin themes.
The first half contained Rimsky-Korsakov’s lively Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34, followed by Ravel’s Bolero. Both composers are known for their brilliant orchestrations, and the Marin musicians were in f... more
The Mill Valley Chamber Music Society began their new season Sept. 28, welcoming back the St. Lawrence String Quartet in an attention-grabbing, high-energy program of Haydn, Alban Berg, and Dvorak. Of the three works brilliantly performed, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite was the most riveting, framed by the Haydn Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 9, and Dvorak's romantic Quartet in G Major, Op. 106.
Composed in 1926, the Lyric Suite marks Berg's drift from tonality to atonality. The St. Lawrence's... more
Pianists and music lovers familiar with the pianists of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries will want to see a newly-released documentary “The Buddha of the Piano,” concerning the life and achievements of pianist Leopold Godowsky. This is the second documentary produced by Bay Area pianist Antonio Iturrioz; following his “The Art of the Left Hand.”
Mr. Iturrioz’ well-researched one-hour documentary rightfully places Godowsky in the pantheon of the great pianists of “The Golden Ag... more