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 Recent Reviews
CHAMBER
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
CHAMBER
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
CHAMBER
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
CHAMBER
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
RECITAL
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
SYMPHONY
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
RECITAL
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
OPERA
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
RECITAL
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
RECITAL
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
Local Concerts  
RECITAL REVIEW
Concerts Grand House Recitals / Sunday, September 03, 2017
Sandra Shen, piano

Pianist Sandra Shen July 3 in Santa Rosa

ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017

A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the small audience in an East Santa Rosa home.

The South Bay-based artist has played in Santa Rosa before, at the Spring Lake Village series produced by Robert Hayden, but this was Ms. Shen’s local debut in an intimate setting, albeit with a garden party following the playing. Risotto “con fungi” and German potato salad had pride of place, not lasagna.

Bach’s B-Flat Partita opened the short recital and was given a studied reading with seemingly taking every repeat. Highlights were the vivacious two-voice Corrente and the wonderful clarity in the Gigue that was played at a moderate tempo with Scarlatti-like hand crossings. The artist added several catchy turns in the Allemande, always welcome in the Glenn Gould style of playing Bach.

She followed the Partita with Schubert’s ever-popular B Flat Impromptu from Op. 142, a work with a beguiling theme and five perfectly crafted variations. They were played chastely and with a natural rise and fall of phrase, with a quiet ending that brought loud applause. The reading had just a hint of nostalgia.

Artful and convincing shaping of phrase continued with Chopin’s great F Sharp Barcarolle, a work with an Italianate theme from the composer’s last years. It was the first of three compositions featuring water. In the Barcarolle Ms. Shen suppressed the often heard intimate interpretation in favor of more expansive playing, underscoring the work’s inner drama that peaked with a glorious melodic statement after the descending chords phrase that ends slowly in F Sharp. The reading produced the most extended ovation of the afternoon. Captivating.

Chinese composer’s bucolic Autumn Moon Reflection on a Lake was the penultimate work, and passed without much notice in four minutes of slow and vivid harmonic progressions that might have been soporific in the small concert room with its elevated temperature.

All the languor was swept away with a richly colored performance of Ravel’s Jeux d’Eau. As throughout the recital Ms. Shen’s damper pedal control of sound, especially in the piano’s upper registers, was graceful and florid. Under Ms. Shen’s deft fingers (and feet) fountain spray seemed everywhere in the impressionist sonority of the 1902 work.

No encore was offered, and the audience repaired to the cooler patio for food, and several had the opportunity to speak at length about the music with the elegant pianist.

The reviewer is also the producer of the Concerts Grand House Recitals series.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Napa Valley Music Associates Salon Concert Series
Sunday, September 24, 2017
2:00 PM - Napa
Art of the Trio. Katrina Wreede, viola; Sara Jo Zaharako, violin; Moses Sedler, cello, Diana Rowan,
Program TBA Advance Reservations Suggested; suggested donations $25...
Details

SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Saturday, September 30, 2017
7:30 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor
Dvorák: In Nature's Realm, Op. 91, Othello (Concert Overture), Op. 93, Carnival (Concert Overture), Op. 92; Tchaikovski: Symphony No. 1 ("Winter Dreams") Tickets are $15; students free...
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SYMPHONY
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Sunday, October 01, 2017
2:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Norman Gamboa, conductor
Dvorák: In Nature's Realm (Concert Overture), Op. 91, Othello (Concert Overture), Op. 93, Carnival (Concert Overture), Op. 92; Tchaikovski: Symphony No. 1 ("Winter Dreams") Tickets are $15; students ...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Saturday, October 07, 2017
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Joyce Yang, piano
Bates: Garages of the Valley; Beethoven: Concerto in C Minor (No. 3), Op. 37; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36...
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SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Sunday, October 08, 2017
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Joyce Yang, piano
Bates: Garages of the Valley; Beethoven: Concerto in C Minor (No. 3), Op. 37; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36...
Details

CHAMBER
Mill Valley Chamber Music Society
Sunday, October 08, 2017
5:00 PM - Mill Valley
Miró Quartet. Daniel Ching and William Fedkenheuer, violin; John Largess, viola; Joshua Gindele, ce
Haydn: Quartet, Op.71, No. 3, in E Flat; Dvorak: Cypresses (selections); Beethoven, Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131...
Details

RECITAL
Green Music Center
Sunday, October 08, 2017
1:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Nikolay Khozyainov, piano
Music of Chopin, Liszt and Schumann Tickets are $30...
Details

SYMPHONY
Santa Rosa Symphony
Monday, October 09, 2017
8:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor. Joyce Yang, piano
Bates: Garages of the Valley; Beethoven: Concerto in C Minor (No. 3), Op. 37; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36...
Details

SYMPHONY
North Bay Sinfonietta
Friday, October 13, 2017
8:00 PM - Santa Rosa
Cynthia Weichel, conductor. Jennifer Sills, viola
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture; Sphor: Symphony No. 2; Niccolo Zingarelli: Sinfona No. 7; Telemann: Viola Concerto in C....
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SYMPHONY
Napa Valley Symphony
Saturday, October 14, 2017
5:00 PM - Yountville
Michael Guttman, conductor. Vadim Repin, violin.
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64; Violin solos by Tchaikovsky: Valse-Scherzo, Lensky's Aria (from the Opera "Eugene Oregon"); Meditation (from the Opera "Thais"). Other music TBA Ticke...
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