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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
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...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
Chamber
KODALY DUO TRUMPS POPULAR MENDELSSOHN TRIO AT SLV CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
It’s not really a secret, but Sonoma County’s best chamber music series is one without much notoriety or publicity. The concerts at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village programs are only for residents and a few invited guests. Impresario Robert Hayden years ago honed his producer skills as founder of ...
Recital
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Symphony
SOVIETS INVADE WEILL HALL, TAKE NO PRISONERS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Bruno Ferrandis may be French, but he excels in Soviet repertoire. His Slavonic expertise was more than amply demonstrated at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, where the program began joyfully with Khachaturian’s ballet suite from “Masquerade,” surged forward with Prokofiev’s second violin co...
Recital
MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mendocino Music Festival / Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Paul Hersh, viola and piano
Teresa Yu, piano

Piano Duo in Preston Hall July 20 (N. Wilson Photo)

DISCOVERY AND EDUCATION IN FESTIVAL DUO RECITAL

by Elizabeth MacDougall
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

San Francisco pianists Paul Hersh and Teresa Yu presented a Mendocino Music Festival program July 20 titled “Reflections and Variations.” Mr. Hersh is known at the Festival for his professorial introductions to a performance of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1) and in 2011 he will perform Book 2 in Preston Hall.

“We are going to start with something really strange, Benjamin Britten's Lachrymae for Viola and Piano, Op. 48,” Mr. Hersh announced, and he took up the bow and viola with Ms. Yu at the piano. The work based on a song of John Dowland, born in England in 1563.

The duo led a demonstration of the original Renaissance music called “If My Complaints Could Passions Move.” He proceeded through the Theme and Variations and described the various compositional techniques. “This is a piece about innuendoes. I want everybody to have a handle on what’s going on,” Hersh stated. After a particular demonstration of music he asked “Did you get it?” and the audience laughed. He played through another passage and said “The question is ‘How much of this does stick in your ear, subliminally?’ ”

After listening to the thirty minutes of lecture and demonstration on the Britten work, written in 1950, the final twelve-minute play-through of the performance was exquisite. Each transition was well understood by the audience. The Finale of the variations was peaceful, Mr. Hersh mentioning previously that he likes “to remove all vibrato [from his viola], pretend that I’m playing a sixteenth century instrument.” It was a fetching conclusion to the first half.

Five short works from Grieg’s Lyric Pieces began the second part: Arietta, Nocturne, At Your Feet, Gone, and Remembrances. These were beautiful miniatures that Mr. Hersh introduced with comments on the compositional techniques. “All of the pieces feature going down” (intervals that sound lower). He described some of the music as “moody, dry and moody”.

Completing the concert was Schubert's “Variation on an Original Theme” in A-flat Major (Op. 35, D. 813) for piano four hands. This was a piece that Hersh admitted didn’t know before October, and expressed astonishment at the vast amount of repertoire composed by Schubert. The pianist has recorded substantial amounts of four-hand music and the discovery of the Schubert was for him a delight. He commented on one variation as being in the “key of seven-flats; people didn’t like that, as it’s hard to sight read, and in the tuning of Schubert’s day it would have sounded strange.”

The four-hand performance by Ms. Yu and Mr. Hersh was admirably synchronized and the variations unfolded with thought and elegance. Both artists had the virtuosity to bring the rarely-played duo to life, and the audience was warmly appreciative.