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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...
Symphony
ORFF AND HINDEMITH SONIC SPLENDOR AT FINAL SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Sonoma County Philharmonic concerts are continually artistically successful but on the Santa Rosa High School’s stage the orchestra rarely numbers above 40, and in the 900-seat hall audiences can be scant. Violinists can be in short supply. An opposite scene occurred at the March 17/18 concert set...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Trio Navarro / Sunday, November 06, 2011
Trio Navarro: Roy Malan, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Sonoma State University's Trio Navarro

BRIDGE AND TURINA WORKS SPARKLE IN TRIO NAVARRO CONCERT AT SSU

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 06, 2011

An old musical friend was juxtaposed with two not-quite-so-old interlopers Nov. 6 when the venerable Trio Navarro opened their 2011-2012 season at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center 1028. Mendelssohn’s iconic D Minor Trio was the old shoe and Trios by Bridge and Turina were the unfamiliar fare.

In a surprise program alignment the rarely-played Bridge C Minor Fantasie Trio and Turina’s Op. 35 Trio comprised the long second half, and both works are episodic and difficult to get to know in a single hearing. The Turina, from 1926 and written in a style that combines Spanish elements with arguably early 20th Century French style, received a strong performance led at the outset by violinist Roy Malan’s penetrating high register. The rhapsodic nature changed quickly in the following Theme and (5) Variations to a more somber tone. Mr. Malan alternated bright pizzicato phrases with cellist Jill Brindel, combined with intriguing rhythmic syncopations. Pianist Marilyn Thompson deftly played the jazz-influenced Basque dance (zortziko) in the third variation, the obverse to the murmuring pianissimo ending in the strings.

The Trio attached the concluding movement aggressively, the piano part marching up and down the keyboard and heralding themes from the preceding movements.

Bridge’s first Trio (Fantasie) dates from 1908 and is in a single movement. The Navarro’s quick and impulsive opening set the stage for the rich but often darkly-tines melodic lines from the cello and violin, the specter of Faure not far away. The ensemble was particularly good in the swirl of notes, Ms. Thompson pushing the pace. The noble second theme was elegantly played by Ms. Brindel with a broad vibrato and subtle ritards are phrase endings. On either side of the beguiling central Andante the performance sparkled and often surged. It was music in a performance that was optimistic when compared to the intricate Turina.

The concert began with the first Mendelssohn Trio, Op. 49, perhaps the most played work now before the public for this combination of instruments. The performance was dedicated by Ms. Brindel to the memory of her mother who had died the previous day. In the opening Molto allegro ed agitato with its extended patrician cello solo the chosen approach was slow and lyrical, lacking the usual speed and snap that characterizes much of the music. Mr. Malan’s tone and projection, soaring during the Turina and Bridge, was here often covered by Ms. Brindel in a venue that seems to love low frequencies. Ms. Thompson, a consummate chamber music pianist, chose clarity over drama and never covered her partners. It was playing of refinement and proportion but lacked energy.

In the lyrical Andante the tempo was again relaxed with subtle voice leading from the pianist and cellist, and Ms. Thompson varying the character of the repeats with discerning dynamic changes. The charming Scherzo, always a crowd pleaser, found Mr. Malan making small portamento to lovely effect. In the concluding rondo (Allegro) Ms. Brindel dug deep, projecting a bass line to compliment the galloping scales from the pianist. Missing in the sonic balance were some of the sforzando outbursts, especially from the piano part, that add spice and make this revered work feel like a welcome acquaintance.

Mention needs to be made of the room's piano, celebrating its 100th birthday and a favorite instrument of Ms. Thompson. There is captivating music coming in the piano’s next century, and plenty of life in the old girl yet.