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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
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 sm...
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...
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.