Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
RECITAL REVIEW

Daniel Glover on San Rafael's J-B Piano Stage April 3

UNCONVENTIONAL REPERTOIRE FEATURED IN DANIEL GLOVER'S SAN RAFAEL PIANO RECITAL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 3, 2011

San Francisco’s Daniel Glover arguably plays more concerts than any classical pianist residing in Northern California, and his wide repertoire of concertos and solo works are the envy of many musicians. San Rafael’s J-B Piano Emporium was fortunate to host Mr. Glover’s artistry April 3 and 35 music lovers heard an uncompromising program short on familiarity but long on intriguing music.

In the long awaited final recital of the eighth Concerts Grand season, Mr. Glover cast down a provocative gauntlet by beginning with Bartok’s Piano Suite, Op. 14, a four-movement piece that quickly wakes up indolent hearing. The first three sections are pointillist and at times a brash jester appears, finally giving way with the pianist’s touch to a leisurely conclusion and an inconclusive and dissonant halt.

Mr. Glover’s pianism is not at first hearing easy to embrace. He is not a colorist, shuns swooning rubatos and is far more the architect than the poet. These characteristics were apparent in his tackling of Tchaikovsky’s big Sonata in G Major, Op. 37, a work rarely played due to its encompassing scope and often hammering repetition of phrases. The last local public performance I can recall, in a great 1982 Davies Hall recital, was from the mercurial Shura Cherkassky. Mr. Glover is never mercurial, his interpretations being the result of conscientious thought, extended finger work in the studio and his innate curiosity. The bold proclamations of the opening march were perfectly captured in the pianist’s propulsive playing, Tchaikovsky’s debt to Schumann’s early piano music everywhere apparent. The Andante non troppo was chastely played, the lacy long arpeggios were both marcato and cantabile as indicated in the score. The pianist played this movement, as in the entire afternoon, without score. The repeated sixths cords at the end were softly beautiful.

Concluding the Sonata were a bight Scherzo, abetted by the unique treble timbre of the J-B stage piano, and a fast and bravura tour of the finale. This section reflects the declamatory character of the opening movement with syncopated chords and dashing runs in both hands, and Mr. Glover gave his fingers (and feet) full rein. In this last movement there was more playing of a vocal character but an absence of voice leading, an approach that would have lent breathing space to the headlong journey to the coda, preceded by nine clangorous chords in sforzando. Mr. Glover had his arms around this thorny piece and made a strong case for it, albeit with palpable apprehension in the audience. Perhaps an acquired taste for the assembly?

Following intermission Kodaly’s arcane 1907 Méditation sur un Motif de Claude Debussy was played, a richly impressionist work that sounded as if the pianist was improvising. It followed intriguing harmonic paths and Mr. Glover lavished loving care in the details, especially in the ruminative soft notes deep in the bass. A highlight of the afternoon and a rarified work for most in the hall.

Three reasonably familiar Liszt works were played, the first two from Volume One of the Années de Pèlerinage and one, Harmonies Du Soir, from the Transcendental Etudes of 1851 (revised version). Mr. Glover favored left-hand clarity in Au Lac du Wallenstadt and washes of sound in the Au Bord d’une Source. Both were admirable interpretations, convincingly slow in the first and lacking the last bit of charm and prismatic color in the second. The Etude, the 11th of 12 daunting studies, received a formidable performance. Mr. Glover’s running left-hand chords at forte carried throughout the hall and his deft control of soft passages was telling. Here and there sonic smudges appeared in the broken chords and the pianist wasn’t note perfect, but “Evening Harmonies” needs the shimmering repose that it received.

The formal recital ended with two rarely-played Liapunov works, Berceuse and Lesghinka. Both are from an Op. 11 set of Etudes d’exécution transcedante, the Berceuse airy and lyrical and disclosing playing from Mr. Glover removed from the presentation of previous compositions. In introductory remarks to the Lesghinka the pianist alluded to a comparison with Balakirev’s famously virtuosic Islamey and highlighted the Russian folk music derivation and how devilish the piece is to bring off in a live performance. He solidly nailed it, sparks flying with an arsenal of octaves, skips and rapid scales. It was Islamey “light” and compelling.

Two encores were offered, both surprising to the small throng that had previously heard mostly muscular music. Gershwin’s Second Prelude in C-Sharp Minor was followed by an early 1921 Copland work, “Jazzy” from the “Three Moods.” Both received a subtle “hip swinging” performance from Mr. Glover, his rhythms both intoxicating and languorous and his identification with the jazz elements persuasive.

A season-ending Champagne reception followed with ample time for the audience to play the store’s instruments and exchange commentary with an artist that treats every aspect of musical performance as a quest for honesty and esthetic truth.

The reviewer is the producer for the Concerts Grand series.