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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 it seems to be on almost every...
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...
Chamber
TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
Recital
KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Kevin Kenner’s April 8 recital at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kenner’s teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composers’ deman...
Symphony
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOICE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, April 08, 2018
In an April 8 Santa Rosa Symphony concert filled to the brim with instruments--electric violin, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard samplers, harps, piano and myriad drums, gongs and bells, to say nothing of winds, brass and strings--the instrument that came out on top was the hum...
Chamber
VOM FESTIVAL TRIO CHARMS WITH CHAMBER MIX, AND HUMMEL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 31, 2018
At the core of the group of Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) musicians is an ensemble of trios and duos, and as a trio March 31 Festival founders cellist Tanya Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian joined British violinist Monica Huggett for a chamber music concert in the Green Music Center’s Schro...
Choral and Vocal
GOOD FRIDAY REQUIEM FILLS INCARNATION
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 30, 2018
Maurice Duruflé’s short and intense Requiem has been heard in Santa Rosa’s Church of the Incarnation before, but the March 30 Good Friday performance was stripped down in the number of performers, combining Cantiamo Sonoma and the St. Cecilia Choir with musical underpinning from organist Robert Youn...
Symphony
HAMELIN'S HUSKY MOOD IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Convention in piano recitals has the artist coming on stage and playing. Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin walked on Schroeder Hall’s stage March 25 and didn’t play for six minutes, chatting with the audience. A risk for some artists. Then most programs include a contemporary or rarely play...
Recital
VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Organist Robert Huw Morgan’s artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford University’s resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
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.