Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Chamber
ECLECTIC INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATIONS IN VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, July 20, 2019
A Lovely summer afternoon in Sonoma Valley, an excellent small concert hall, enthusiastic audience, exciting musicians and creative programming with interesting story lines. All these were combined July 20 at a Valley of the Moon Festival concert titled “An Italian in Paris.” This is the fifth seaso...
Opera
'ELIXIR' A WELCOME TONIC IN SPRIGHTLY ANNUAL MMF OPERA
by Terry McNeill
Friday, July 19, 2019
In most of the Mendocino Music Festival’s 33 seasons a single evening is given over to a staged opera, with bare bones sets, lighting, costumes, minimal cast and short length. No Wagner or Verdi here, no multiple acts and complicated production demands. Light and frothy are the usual, and so it wa...
Recital
PUNGENT WALTZES AND VIRTUOSITY IN LADEUR'S SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
San Francisco based pianist Jeffrey LaDeur has become one of the most sought-after North Bay virtuosi, and cemented that reputation July 17 in a short but eclectic recital in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village Chamber Music Series. Before 140 in the Village’s auditorium Mr. LaDeur began with Schubert...
Choral and Vocal
NOBLE BRAHMS REQUIEM PERFORMANCE CLOSES SONOMA BACH'S SEASON
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, June 01, 2019
Sonoma Bach, conducted by Robert Worth, presented a truly grand finale to their 2018-19 "Light Out of Darkness" season in two sold out Schroeder Hall performances June 1 and 2. The program "A Human Requiem" was received rapturously with a well-deserved standing ovation for the main work, Brahms' ...
Chamber
THREE SONG CYCLES HIGHLIGHT VIBRANT SLV RECITAL
by Pamela Hicks-Gailey
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
An ambitious recital of vocal and piano music was presented May 8 at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur. The duo engaged the enthusiastic audience with scholarly friendliness and artistry in performances of Beethoven's short cycle of six song...
Symphony
ALEXANDER TORADZE DELIVERS A LESSON IN SERENITY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 05, 2019
An entire concerto movement consisting of serene piano melodies over a soothing backdrop is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when seeing Shostakovich’s name on an orchestra program, but that’s exactly what pianist Alexander Toradze delivered--twice--at Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony c...
Symphony
MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON CLOSES WITH AUTUMNAL ELGAR AND THEATRICAL BEETHOVEN
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Mozart’s enchanting Overture to his opera The Magic Flute, a miniature tapestry of gems from the 1791 work, opened the Marin Symphony’s final concert of the 2018-2019 season. Under conductor Alasdair Neale, the playing of the sprightly seven-minute piece by a reduced-size classical ensemble sparkled...
Recital
SHAHAM-EGUCHI DUO'S EXCITING MUSICAL GENEROSITY IN WEILL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, April 26, 2019
Violinist Gil Shaham may be the most modest virtuoso on the concert stage today, and it is the great music he most wishes to put forward, never himself. Generosity, a quality he is known for, was abundantly clear in Weill Hall April 26 when he performed, with pianist Akira Eguchi, a generous program...
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Marin Symphony / Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Alasdair Neale, conductor
Orion Weiss, piano

Composer Pytor Tchaikovsky

WEISS TRIUMPHS IN ALL-TCHAIKOVSKY MARIN SYMPHONY OPENER

by John Metz
Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Marin Symphony’s Oct. 4 concert, a repeat performance of Sunday’s season opener at the Marin Center, was an exciting celebration of the great Russian Romantic Tchaikovsky.

As a prelude, conductor Alasdair Neale invited Dan Smith, a former member of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra, onstage to guest conduct Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. It was a spritely rendition full of bombast and dramatic dynamic contrasts.

To open the concert proper, the symphony performed Tchaikovsky’s inspired orchestral fantasy Capriccio Italien. The trumpets, led by principal Carole Klein, executed the opening fanfare with great command. And emerging from the opening, the strings, under Mr. Neale’s clear and articulate direction, played a soulful Italian folk tune. Such inspiring Italian melodies are the centerpiece of Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio, a piece written during a brief stint in Rome after his failed marriage. The music explored a multitude of Rome-inspired themes, eventually returning to the opening strings melody, and finally catapulting into a frenzied tarantella which Mr. Neale and his orchestra handled with grace and finesse, thus bringing this fine work to an exciting and gratifying close.

The evening’s highlight was Orion Weiss’ performance of the First Piano Concerto in B-flat, Op. 23. Led by principal Darby Hinshaw, the horns performed the majestic opening with great command and gusto, heralding the entrance of a soaring melody accompanied by the famous leaping piano chords, which span all octaves of the keyboard. In the first movement’s frequent solo interludes and final cadenza, Weiss proved himself a formidable pianistic talent. The melodious second movement was charming, and its unexpected prestissimo posed no challenges for Weiss, whose rendition was lightning fast and graceful. Indeed, Mr. Weiss’s technical mastery was evident throughout the entire performance, though perhaps most evident in the bravura octave passage preceding the final statement of the third movement’s sweeping cantabile melody. Mr. Weiss took these octaves at breakneck speed, utterly unaffected by their technical difficulty and fully able to express the grandness and heroism of Tchaikovsky’s music. It was Mr. Weiss’ masterful pianism and refined artistry that made this an unforgettable concert.

The famous Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture opened serenely with clarinets and bassoons in a chorale, and during the introduction the orchestra performed with tenderness, though at times failed to line up with the Mr. Neale’s downbeats. As tensions built, the opening erupted into the Montague-Capulet feud theme. The horns, who throughout the night delivered an exceptional performance, displayed here more fantastic playing. And the unforgettable love theme, played first by English horn and then restated in the strings, had the audience swooning. The piece ended with a funeral march and requiem in which the violins played the love theme one last time, but this time as a bittersweet remembrance. The orchestra’s rendition of this coda was nothing short of tear-jerking.

As a fitting finale to this Tchaikovsky commemoration, the 1812 Overture was performed. Here they pulled out all the stops to deliver a heroic and thunderous event finale. And it was quite the workout for the brass section, which performed admirably. Tchaikovsky uses the French and Russian Empire national anthems to depict the 1812 military conflict. Eventually the Russian anthem “God Save the Tsar” wins over La Marseillaise, bringing the work to the final boisterous coda, celebrating the Russian victory. Or in the context of this performance, celebrating the genius of the composer. Mr. Neale and his orchestra were unrestrained in this booming and exhilarating finale which had the audience enthralled and utterly captivated.

It all seemed to prove that with Tchaikovsky you can never have too much of a good thing.