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SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
Choral and Vocal
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Feb. 9 performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the 1820s—emp...
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Felici Trio / Sunday, April 19, 2009

Felici Piano Trio

FELICITOUS FELICI TRIO IN MILL VALLEY

by Kenn Gartner
Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mill Valley’s Chamber Music Society provided a nearly full audience April 19 with a superb Felici Trio concert in the Mount Tamalpais Methodist Church. Finally a piano trio with elegant ensemble skills, bravura and deft musicality. You should’a been there.

The Felici - violinist Rebecca Hang, cellist Brian Schuldt, pianist Paulina Zamora - is an exceedingly personable ensemble. With piano lid at full mast and rich string sound, the audience was treated to a set of three outstanding performances. Additionally, in verbal notes from the stage Hang and Schuldt humanized these artists for this audience, extending the charm of this ensemble to the assembly.

They began with Beethoven’s Geister (Ghost) Trio, Opus 70, No. 1, in D Major. Beethoven, a virtuoso pianist, wrote dashing parts, and we were treated a slam-bang performance of an exciting work including all the repeats in the first movement. The repeat in those times was performed so the audience might make mental notes about the initial musical material and then marvel at the compositional dexterity of the composer. A bit more variety in the repeats might have made this performance even more memorable. One should remember that Beethoven’s violin and cello sonatas are for piano with violin or cello obbligato. Thus if you have a violinist or cellist lying around the house, and you play piano, perhaps they would care to make music with you. Zamora took the eighth-note reins and never let go, and the scale passages in the third movement were elegant and bell like.

The next work was probably new to the majority of the audience, John Ireland’s Phantasie Trio in A minor. Written in 1908, this short and attractive one-movement work approximates the sonata-allegro in form, but the written word cannot express what the ear should hear. Like Beethoven, Ireland’s oeuvre focuses on writing for piano ensemble, and seems to be coming into great favor. Chandos has recently released a two-CD set of Ireland’s chamber works.

Anton Dvorak’s Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 90 (Dumky) completed the program. Like the Beethoven, this Trio which is also revolutionary and does not have a sonata-allegro movement or possess a set of variations. However, it does have six movements for which Dvorak created original Czechoslovakian melodies, based on his familiarity with Czech folk song and folk dance. Dumka is an alternation of yearning melancholy and wild gaiety, and the foot stomping was particularly pronounced in the first dumka. A problem with the performance was the constant wee retards in the first dumky as the ensemble approached a cadence, similar to beginning pianists who schlep at the close of Bach’s phrases. However, pianist Zamora provided fleeting momentum including some choice etincelles. Moreover, speaking of optimism and fighting against fate, the work ends with the Picardy Third, a major harmony in a minor piece.

The program notes, both written and verbal, were overly flowery. In my subjective view, Beethoven, writing his Heiligenstadt Testament in October 1802, has already decided several things: he will not commit suicide as he has more music to create; the world will understand him after he is dead; and, though not too much of a stretch, the Romantic era is starting. The “Ghost” trio was composed in 1808. The question arose at the time as to why the Trio was so named, and simply stated, the sketches for the Trio’s second movement duplicated in large measure those for a witch’s chorus for an opera dealing with Macbeth. If one ascribes romantic feelings to this movement, it just reinforces the idea that Beethoven was probably the first Romantic composer.

My seatmates enjoyed the concert as well, and later their mother, violinist Rebecca Hang, asked me if they behaved. Of course they did, it was a great concert.