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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Sebastopol Center For The Arts / Friday, November 19, 2010
Jazmin Aliakbari and Carolyn Tewari, piano

Carolyn Tewari and Jasmin Aliakbari in Sebastopol Nov. 19

ALIAKBARI AND TEWARI SHINE IN SEBASTOPOL ARTS CENTER RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 19, 2010

Carolyn Tewari must be the most active performing pianist in Sonoma County. In addition to teaching, she has a full schedule playing in retirement homes, churches and concert halls, and has a penchant for music by women composers and partnerships with colleagues.

On November 19 she joined her duo partner of long standing, Jazmin Aliakbari, in a joint recital of eclectic music in the Sebastopol Center for the Performing Arts. The two women switched at the piano from primo to segundo with an enthusiastic audience of 40 watching every solo and four-hand alignment.

Jane Savage’s Duet, Op. 6, opened the program and was immediately forgettable. Glenn Gould referred to such compositions as “dictation music.” Debussy’s First Arabesque and Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata, Op. 13, both performed by Ms. Tewari, were of course works of different merit. The Debussy featured a slow tempo with the stress on tonal color, the arching right-hand runs played with grace, and the legato triplets were stylishly rendered.

The Beethoven C Minor Sonata has been played in parts around the County by Ms. Tewari, and it was good that she finally tackled the entire work in a public hall. There was palpable momentum and drama in the playing, and left-hand tremolo passages had verve. Ms. Tewari was careful in the Adagio to keep one tempo throughout, and the concluding Rondo had perhaps the Sonata’s most concise playing, the long trill telling.

Poulenc’s Sonata for Four Hands closed the first half, Ms. Aliakbari joining in a clangorous change from the controlled pianism of the Beethoven. There was some unstable playing in the initial Prelude and beguiling juxtapositions of ruminative sound in the “Rustique” second movement. The counterpoint was clear in the finale, with lots of rumbling passages in the low bass and echoes of Poulenc’s large Concerto for Two Pianos. The last chord was held to considerable effect, the playing on balance the best in the first half.

Solo performance returned after intermission when Ms. Aliakbari played Bach’s Toccata in E Minor (S. 914), Chopin’s Third Ballade and the “Suite de Danzas Criollas,” Op. 15, of Ginastera. Though the Bach had good differentiation of voices, and the A-Flat Ballade featured clear right-hand scale passages, neither seemed a work that was yet fully the pianist’s own. The footing in each seemed unsure, the phrases hurried when repose was needed, the dense Bach fugal section lacking a concrete shape. The Ginastera work, from 1946 and similar in parts one and five to the earlier “Danzas Argentinas,” had an idiomatic reading from the pianist, the Creole style palpable and the clusters in the Allegro Rustico powerful indeed.

Four pieces from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, concluded the formal program. The majestic nostalgia of “Morning Mood” and the singing treble line of the “In The Hall of the Mountain King” were salutary. No author of the transcription for piano four hands was listed.

A final charming work for both artists, the iconic “Tea For Two” from the 1925 Broadway show “No, No, Nanette,” was offered as an encore. It was a tuneful end to a pleasurable evening of rich solo and four-hand piano music.