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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, May 14, 2009
GILA GOLDSTEIN, CONCERT PIANIST

Israeli Pianist Gila Goldstein

GOLDSTEIN'S FINE PIANISM AT OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gila Goldstein isn’t a household name in North Bay music, but as a visiting virtuoso the New York resident has played here a lot: three recitals in San Francisco’s Old First Church series, another in a stately Marin hilltop home, one for Concerts Grand, and at least one Sonoma County home concert. May 14 found her at the Oakmont Concert Series’ Berger Auditorium, her third recital there, with a varied program of virtuoso works for the piano.

Goldstein, trained in her native Israel and at the Manhattan School of Music, offered a mixed bag from six composers in the first half, beginning with the big Bach Chaconne from the Second Violin Partita, in Busoni’s edition. As in the rest of the program, she took a measured approach to the massive work, leaving orchestral playing aside and concentrating on fine details, distinct lines and coloristic effects. Her scales were clean, and she judiciously traded the themes between her hands.

Liszt’s Sonetto Del Petrarca followed, again in a colorful but small-scaled reading, more reminiscent of Brendel than of Horowitz or Bolet. A lovely inner voice peeped through before the final thematic statement. A Nocturne by Respighi was next. The work has a beguiling shimmer with softly repeated right-hand alternating chords, and the surprise of two low-bass ending notes. Goldstein played it wonderfully, along with the following work, Debussy’s Poissons d’or. Her playing of Debussy’s overlapping tremolo figures was suitably impressionistic, as were the fluid arpeggios. Playing fast, delicate pianissimo passages is clearly difficult, but she handled them with aplomb.

Concluding the first half were Paul Ben-Haim’s Five Pieces for Piano, a Goldstein specialty. Each section alternates improvisational melodies and exciting rhythms. The ending Toccata is directly akin to Prokofiev’s Toccata and much of his Third Sonata (which Goldstein played here three years ago), and it was and equally effective under Goldstein’s fleet and accurate fingers. The Canzonetta was phrased in a way to delight any singer in the audience of 160.

The concert, the fifth in the 2009 season, had but one work in the second half, Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze. Comprised of 18 short dances and other works from 1837, the cycle has never acquired the popularity of the composer’s other cyclic works: Carnaval, Humoresque, Kreisleriana and the Noveletten. The Davidsbundlertanze is a difficult piece for the listener, having considerable sectional beauty but lacking the dramatic contrast and march themes of the 22-part Carnaval. Goldstein lavished a great deal of beautiful pianism on the piece, playing repeats differently (a mark of the romantic pianist) and adding little phrase-ending ritards and telling off-beat accents. Her control of pianissimo and evocative tone color from the piano’s midsection were masterful. She has a lyrical gift and a deft touch well suited to this neglected but demanding work.

No encore was requested by the assembly, though more of the richly hued Schumann would have been a blessing. Also desirable would be a method of quieting Berger Auditorium’s air conditioning system. Its steady hum offered a less-than-joyful accompaniment to an afternoon of fine piano playing.