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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
RECITAL REVIEW
Concerts Grand / Sunday, November 01, 2009
Elizabeth MacDougall, Pianist

elizabeth MacDougall Accepts Standing-Room Only Applause

MACDOUGALL'S MAGICAL SCHUMANN IN UKIAH RECITAL

by James Houle
Sunday, November 01, 2009

A composed and elegant Elizabeth MacDougall provided dramatic piano playing Nov. 1 to a capacity audience in Mendocino College’s Choral Room. Extra chairs were brought in, a rare event for a Ukiah piano recital, and the added attendees heard a sparkling recital of four formidable composers. Sponsored by Concerts Grand and the College’s Music Club, the afternoon’s program was carefully balanced and Ms. MacDougall was warmly greeted upon entering, the audience surely sprinkled with friends and students as well as piano aficionados.

The printed program was played entirely from score.

Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G Major from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier was opening piece and heated the overflow audience quickly. The Preludium was a little hurried, Ms. MacDougall avoiding any rubato and concentrating on finger staccato. The Fugue was expressive, the two-voice countersubjects heard clearly.

Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestüke (Op. 12) was definitely the jewel of the afternoon, and the opening Des Abends was a wistful tribute to evening hours. Aufschwung certainly soared out of Ms. MacDougall's hands like an angry cat springing into the air. The bass line of triplets was never blurred, never hurried. Warum was played as a dreamy and inquisitive thought, and the artist passionately performed In Der Nacht where the sixteenth notes in the bass ran into darkness and she deftly manipulated multiple layers of melodic writing in the same hand. It was a bravura reading. The Traumes Wirren displayed a most a skilled right-hand rotation technique and chimera sound, and the concluding Ende vom Lied with sturdy chordal writing was upon us much too soon.

Prokofiev's Sonata No. 3 in B flat erupted wildly, the audience still in peaceful repose after the final section of the Schumann. The third theme was particularly explosive and another theme then made me think of running mice with its rhythmic energy.

Following intermission the pianist seemed in a hurry to get into the Beethoven’s B-flat Sonata, Opus 22. She strode through the double octaves with frightening precision in the Allegro. The Adagio was given a thoughtful interpretation but lacked expressiveness despite the molta espressione notation. The final Rondo was effective but at times rushed. The audience seems disappointed to be at the end of the recital and clamored for Ms. MacDougall to reappear.

One encore was offered, an abbreviated Chopin Waltz, Op. 64, No. 1. Though already short, the famous “Minute” Waltz became one of 30 seconds as the second theme (marked sostenuto) and recapitulation were not played. A strange omission in an otherwise sterling concert.