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Choral and Vocal
SOMBER GERMAN POETRY IN SONG AT ROSCHMANN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Two weeks does make a hefty difference. Feb. 3 saw the diva Renée Fleming beguile a full Weill Hall house in a mix of Brahms, Broadway show songs and Dvorak chestnuts. It was a gala event with couture gowns and colorful extra-musical communication between singer and her rapt audience. Dorothea Rösc...
Chamber
NOVEL AND FAMILIAR WORKS FROM THE TILDEN TRIO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 11, 2018
North Coast chamber music fans have the luxury of two fine resident piano trios, with the frequently performing Trio Navarro at Sonoma State, and the Tilden Trio at San Rafael’s Dominican University. The Tilden plays less often, but their Feb. 11 performance brought several hundred to Angelico Hall ...
Symphony
A FIFTH CONTENDER ENTERS THE RING FOR THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, February 10, 2018
In these international times, what makes a piece of music American? For Michael Christie, the answer is that it needs to have at least premiered on these shores, if not been composed here. Thus the rationale for the “all American” program that Christie--the fifth and final conducting candidate for t...
Recital
HAUNTING RACHMANINOFF WORKS IN HU'S MAO RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 08, 2018
Ching-Yun Hu made a return Music at Oakmont appearance Feb. 8 in Berger Auditorium, reprising a recital she made in the same hall four years ago. Many of the recital’s trappings were the same, but the music Ms. Hu chose to play was decidedly different. All afternoon the pianist was in an aggressiv...
Chamber
A COMPLETE ARTISTIC PACKAGE IN FLEMING'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Vaida Falconbridge and Mary Beard
Saturday, February 03, 2018
The diva Renée Fleming strode on the Weill Hall stage Feb. 2 in her first couture gown of the evening, a gray and swirling cream strapless sheath with flamboyant coordinating stole. For this concert, Ms. Fleming stayed to somewhat lighter fare, foregoing heavier dramatic and coloratura arias for a v...
Recital
ZNAIDER-KULEK DUO CHARMS AND CHALLANGES WEILL AUDIENCE FEB. 2
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 02, 2018
Weill hall has mounted several exceptional piano recitals, with Garrick Ohlsson’s titanic Liszt concert, and of course Lang Lang’s two insouciant but also compelling performances topping the list since 2013. But arguably the virtuoso violinists have on balance been more impressive, and thoughts g...
Chamber
VIVID GERMAN ROMANTICISM IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Though not new to Sonoma County, the Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) concerts are relatively recent in the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall. So the first of three spring concerts Jan. 27 provided a picture of what’s in the repertoire leading up to their Festival this summer at Sonoma’s Ha...
Symphony
MONUMENTAL NIELSEN SYMPHONY CAPS SO CO PHIL CONCERT AT SR HS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Turning again away from conventional repertoire, the Sonoma County Philharmonic programmed Jan. 27 three works in what were local debut performances in Santa Rosa High School’s Performing Arts Center. Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, Op. 29, called “Inextinguishable,” closed the program with an extravaga...
Chamber
ECLECTIC ANDERSON & ROE TRANSCRIPTIONS CAPTIVATE WEILL HALL AUDIENCE
by Nicki Bell
Sunday, January 21, 2018
From the first moment when Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe walked Jan. 21 on the Weill Hall stage and spoke to the audience about their two-piano program, it was clear that an afternoon of drama, humor, virtuosity, warmth, transcendence and excitement was in store. This dynamic and mesmerizing ...
Chamber
BALCOM TRIO HIGHLIGHTS DELPHI'S RAC CONCERT IN OCCIDENTAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, January 20, 2018
The Redwood Arts Council audience first met the Delphi Trio (Jeffrey LaDeur, (piano), Liana Berube (violin), and cellist Michelle Kwon) in 2013, and subsequent concerts in the same Occidental hall have become crowd favorites. The January 20th program before a capacity audience seemed to have enthus...
RECITAL REVIEW
Concerts Grand / Sunday, November 08, 2009
Elena Casanova, Pianist. The recital is produced by Pacific Union College's Music Department and Concerts Grand. Ms. Casanova is a PUC alumna. Assisting artist for the Gershwin is PUC Professor Lynn Wheeler

Lynn Wheeler and Elena Casanova on the Paulin Hall stage Nov. 8

CASANOVA SPARKLES IN ANGWIN LATIN MUSIC RECITAL

by Mendo Cinco
Sunday, November 08, 2009

Presenting an entire program of classical Latin music might seem a risky venture, but pianist Elena Casanova is known for performing in multiple musical genres, and perhaps taking a chance or two along the way. Her Nov. 8 recital In Angwin’s Paulin Hall proved to be markedly unconventional. Produced by Pacific Union College’s Music Department in collaboration with Concerts Grand, the event drew an enthusiastic crowd of 125, a mix of PUC students and faculty, north Napa Valley music fans and a sizable contingent from Ukiah, Ms. Casanova’s home town. As a PUC alumna, the artist was indeed the prodigal returning home.

Beginning with Lecuona and Gottschalk’s "Souvenir de Puerto Rico," Ms. Casanova caught the sparkling rhythms inherent in this characteristic Latin music, the charm of her native Cuba in the forefront. Yalil Guerra’s more recent "Seducción" (1994) was both languorously attractive and, in the middle section, provocative. Maria Matilde Alea’s "Miniaturas Ritmicas Cubanas No. 2," a children’s piece composed by Ms. Casanova’s teacher in Cuba, was warmly received.

In her 2008 Ukiah recital, Ms. Casanova ended with Ginastera’s "Danzas Argentinas," Op. 2, and here she closed the first half with this popular work from 1937. Playing from score, as she did during most of the recital, the pianist provided plenty of polytonal interest in the opening "Danza del Viejo boyero" and the "Danza de la moza donosa’s" undulating meter was played in a warmly beguiling manner. Notwithstanding a pesky memory lapse in the finale, the pianist’s energetic and full-throttle approach carried the "Danza del Gaucho matrero" to a wild finish, an upward glissando capping left-hand dissonances and colorful flourishes.

Three composers unknown to this reviewer were featured to begin the second half: Jose L. Fernando de Coca, Enrique Guerro and Manuel Samuell. Ms. Casanova’s playing of these neglected Cuban composers was exemplary, the Samuell piece ("El Pañuelo de Pepa, recuerdos de Gottschalk") being the most intriguing and bringing back the Creole flavor of Gottschalk’s Caribbean pieces.

Three popular composers concluded the concert, the first two (Piazzola and René Touzet) specialists in tangos and pachangas, native to Argentina and Cuba. Both were played with effervescent colors, particularly Touzet’s "Dancita No. 3."

College faculty pianist and Department Chair Lynn Wheeler joined Ms. Casanova to close the program with the two-piano version of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The opening trill and ascending scale, originally for a dapper clarinet, was played "primo" by Ms. Casanova, enticingly setting the 16-minute work alight. Prof. Wheeler, one of Ms. Casanova’s esteemed teachers, was every bit as effective in his sharp melodic interchanges. It was a performance that leaned more to the jazz idiom than the classical influence, the solo sections richly rhythmic and at times orchestral in scope. The pianists were not always together during the ensemble parts, but no matter, as the score from 1924 was effectively realized, piquant and quite boisterous.

Remaining on stage when an encore was demanded, Prof. Wheeler displayed glowing arpeggios that met Ms. Casanova’s liquid legato in a Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe two-piano transcription of Saint-Saens’ “The Swan.” A more relaxed work and deft performance after the unrestrained Gershwin could not be imagined.