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Classical Sonoma: Review by Jim Harrod

Classical Sonoma Review

NOVEL SOPRANO ORGAN DUO IN CAS CONCERT

by Jim Harrod

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Soprano Christine Westhoff and organist Timothy Allen, a husband and wife duo, gave a delightful and satisfying autumn musicale October 18 in west Santa Rosa’s Resurrection Parish. The Creative Arts Series produced the concert.

Ms. Westhoff, accompanied sensitively by her husband at the console, sang two sets of well known, yet always welcomed, arias from the classical church repertory. Her gloriously archangelic voice sang these beloved melodies as though they were written just for her. She demonstrated outstanding control of the musical line from the pianissimo to a powerful forte. The expression of emotion in the music never failed to rise to majesty.

Her program of comfort and love was everybody’s favorites. There was Vivaldi’s “Domine Deus”, Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum”, Faure’s “Pie Jesu” and Mendelssohn’s “Hear O Israel”. These were followed in the second half by Handel’s “I know my Redeemer Liveth”, Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, and “O Divine Redeemer” by Gounod. Nothing was stale in this glorious presentation. All were sung as newly invented.

Not to be outdone by his musical companion, the virtuoso organist played new and familiar organ works with the expected consummate skill. In addition to Bach’s Sonata No. 5 in C major (BWV 529) and the Sinfonia from Cantata 29, arranged by A. Guilmant, Mr. Allen performed selected works by British composers Alan Ridout (1934-1996), and Derek Bourgeois (b. 1944), and the Welshman William Mathias (1934-1992). He concluded his program with the familiar and satisfying “Carillon de Westminster” of Vierne.

More about the recitalists can be seen at www.christinewesthoff.com and http://www.arkansasarts.org/aot-artists/timothy-allen-and-christine-westhoff.

Christmas Pops and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Dec. 18-20 ASO Christmas Pops!

December 18-20 – Holiday Pops with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra!

Join me and the Arkansas symphony orchestra as we celebrate the holidays!

Holiday Pops with the ASO

The ASO’s most popular and longest running tradition brings holiday cheer to music lovers of all ages.

December 18-20, 2015

For tickets call 501-666-1761 or visit www.arkansassymphony.org

Benefit Concert: Chicago, Illinois!

St. Vincent de Paul Church
Lincoln Park Chicago
Saturday May 21, 2016
7:00 Benefit Concert
Details TBA

St. Vincent DePaul Church, Lincoln Park

St. Vincent DePaul Church, Lincoln Park

Christmas Concert

December 14, 2015
7:00 Holiday Concert
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Newport, Arkansas 

Christmas Concerts

Christmas Concerts

Hark! Is Back!

November 28th, 2015
Hark! Is Back!

Hark! Is Back!

7pm Hark! Encore Concert! 
Meet and greet and CD signing 
Location TBA

Singing with cats

My earliest memories in life are surrounded by music…I remember sitting in my parents kitchen at the age of three listening to Memories, from “Cats”. First I remember listening to the melody, and then the words. I could not comprehend how anyone could write something so beautiful. It was at that moment, at the age of three that music had me, mind, body, and soul.

My childhood was then spent absorbing, listening, memorizing, and devouring any Broadway, Opera, or Classical music I could get my hands on. I began studying with college professors at the age of eleven honing and crafting this skill. I never thought of it as a career, it was my life, like oxygen, or food. This was all the sustenance I needed.

By the time I had reached college I assumed I was going to be an opera singer, I had been classically trained and this of course seemed like the logical progression of things…I sounded like one after all…and I couldn’t figure out why now the idea of becoming an opera singer left me with a strange hollow feeling, I couldn’t fathom prancing around a stage for the rest of my adult life signing about things that have no baring on the real world. (Of course this is just my opinion) until one afternoon like a sign from the heavens I stumbled on to an oratorio book…I then realized as a priest is called to the collar, that this was where God had led me…he would use my voice to help those in prayer, those in need of His voice…

Singing for me now as an adult, is not only my job, but a spiritual moment, one where for just an instant I can help myself and others to see and hear the beauty and awe in all things He has created. Mozart, Handel, Vivaldi, were also called to do the same in some of the great Oratorios that came out of their quill. I feel blessed that I was chosen for this job, humbled that this was my small part of His works and grateful that I can call some of the great cathedrals of the world my office.

MEDIA RELEASE

CLASSICALLY TRAINED SOPRANO FOCUSES ON GOD RATHER THAN WAGNER


Midwestern Soprano to Open Tour Season in Rome, Italy

September 16, 2013— Classically trained as a lyric operatic soprano, Christine Westhoff is becoming one of the leading American artists in the area of oratorio and sacred music, attracting the attention of a widening public including the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, and the United States.

The 31-year-old singer is unique in that, although trained as an operatic singer, she has devoted her career to sacred music that was written some 500-700 years before her birth, “I assumed I was going to be an opera singer. I’d trained as one. I sounded like one. I just couldn’t figure out why the idea of having to sing opera for the rest of my career left me with a hollow feeling.” Westhoff says an accidental discovery changed her path, “One afternoon I stumbled onto an old oratorio book of music. Just as a priest is called to the collar, I instantly knew that God was showing me where he wanted me.”

As a Catholic, Westhoff’s 2013 concert tour will kick off in the city where faith is foremost—Rome, Italy, where she will perform in the ancient and beautiful San Silvestro Chapel, with an audience that will include various princes, priests, and prelates of the Church.

In addition to the sacred and oratorio pieces Westhoff will perform, her 2013 tour will include pieces by contemporary U.K. composer, Ash Madni. Qatar-born Madni, known for compositions that fuse Western and Eastern classical music, has high praise for Westhoff; “Christine’s singing is beautiful, pitch perfect, powerful and radiates passion, rare to find these days.” Westhoff will sing his “An Aria for Fatimah,” which sets Percy Shelley’s poetry to music.

After her premier in Italy, Westhoff will perform a series of concerts and recitals throughout England, Canada, and the United States.

When asked about how she views her job as a singer, Westhoff mused, “I feel blessed that I was chosen for this job. Humbled that this is my small part of His work. Grateful that I can call some of the great cathedrals of the world my office.”

For more information on Christine Westhoff, visit www.christinewesthoff.com