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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 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...
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...
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.