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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma Classical Music Society / Friday, May 30, 2008
Elizabeth Dorman and Tanya Tomkins

Elizabeth Dorman and Tanya Tomkins

CELLO-PIANO DUO NOT QUITE RIPE

by Terry McNeill
Friday, May 30, 2008

Sonoma's Classical Music Society closed its fourth season May 30 with a program partly piano recital and partly chamber music.

Presented to 80 people in Sonoma's Burlingame Hall, cellist Tanya Tomkins joined pianist Elizabeth Dorman in Beethoven's flamboyant A Major Sonata, Op. 69, comprising the entire second half. Both artists had an exuberant view of the score and the cello sound in the hall was distinct and warm. Ms. Tomkins needed all the sound she could muster because balance problems pervaded the playing. Constantly pushing the tempo and aggressively stating the four-movement work's engaging themes, Ms. Dorman led the way to a sharply-seasoned but unsettling performance. It was frequently difficult to hear the cello line, though in the brief adagio cantabile the long-line was lovely.

The concert's first half was all piano, and this reviewer heard only the last movement of Beethoven's F-Sharp Major Sonata, Op. 78. The playing was expressive and idiomatic,
but was hampered along with the concluding Chopin works by the inadequate and fatigued house piano. Ms. Dorman, currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatory, gave extroverted readings of the F Major and F Minor Studies from Chopin's Op. 10 set, mastering the technical details of the left-hand arpeggios in No. 8 while grappling with indistinct right-hand scales. The instrument again may have been the culprit, and noisy trap work contributed to mix. The wide extensions in No. 9 were well mastered.

Arguably one of Chopin's greatest works, the titanic F-Minor Ballade, Op. 52 was convincingly played with the requisite drama and tension. Ms. Dorman has a strong rhythmic impulse and was in no hurry to get anywhere. Her rubato playing was unsubtle, but she has an innate understanding of what to do in this under-ten minute exploration of Chopin's genius. She took the pedal at measure 203, cutting off the chordal resonance, and was a wise choice. The cascade of pianistic colors in the coda was skillfully managed, inexorably driving to the final four chords. F Minor is a sinister key.

The Tomkins-Dorman duo would profit by programming more cello works of the standard literature, leaving the solo piano literature to a separate program. The two women are just beginning their collaboration, and based on this one Beethoven performance, it could be a fruitful partnership.