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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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Concerts Grand / Sunday, February 19, 2012
Elizabeth MacDougall, piano

Elizabeth MacDougall Plays Debussy's Suite Feb. 19 at Mendocino College

MACDOUGALL'S PIANISM CHARMS MENDOCINO COLLEGE AUDIENCE FEB. 19

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2012

The adage that no woman is a prophet in her own home town was, as usual, proven false Feb. 19 when Ukiah native Elizabeth MacDougall gave a warmly satisfying piano recital in Mendocino College’s Choral Room under the auspices of Concerts Grand.

Ms. MacDougall’s artistry has long been admired in the Mendocino County community, and for this recital of three works her audience packed the small room and heard a committed and serious presentation, beginning with Bach’s G Minor English Suite, BWV 808. Ms. MacDougall is a thoughtful, focused player that pays attention to Bach’s pesky details and is liberal with repeats, though at times she lacks flamboyance. These salient qualities served her well in the set of dances that comprise the Suite. Her trills and turns throughout were clear, as was the articulation. The Courante was lovely with careful phrasing and, as with all the movements, she manages rock steady tempos. The Gigue sparkled and was judiciously played.

Debussy’s popular Children’s Corner Suite closed the first half and like the Bach Suite was prefaced by extended remarks from the artist. Composed in 1908 for his daughter, Debussy in six disparate movements encapsulates memories of his own childhood and suggests comparison with Schumann’s Kinderscenen and Faure’s Dolly Suite. The Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum section had clear chordal outlines and was built to a fine toccata-like conclusion, and Ms. MacDougall carried a relaxed approach into the famous Serenade for the Doll, heavily using the shift pedal and contrasting legato and staccato sections. The concluding Golliwog’s Cake Walk was played with spice, the jazzy harmonies accented and again the pace steady and deliberate.

Played from score as was the entire recital, Beethoven’s magnificent Sonata in E, Op. 109, comprised the entire second part. This restless but amiable work was played introspectively but without the wrenching espressivity that appears in the second movement's theme and six variations. Ms. MacDougall can spin a lovely cantabile and her pedaling was always clean, letting the music unfold naturally. What I missed was more flexibility in phrasing, as even the heavenly phrase that ends the work needed a more supple rhythm and touch.

Responding to a standing ovation, the pianist played Chopin's arristocratic C-Sharp Minor Waltz, Op. 64, No. 2

Ukiah musical benefactors Joan and George Louie underwrote the concert and hosted a lavish reception in their home, replete with music making at their two pianos and exceptional curry and dessert dishes. Praise for such musical support can go no higher.

The reviewer is the producer of the Concerts Grand series.