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Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now it seems to be on almost every...
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...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Oakmont Concert Series / Thursday, July 10, 2008
TILDEN PIANO TRIO

TILDEN PIANO TRIO

TILDEN TRIO IN TOP FORM AT OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 10, 2008

Classical music in the North Bay has lately been blessed by a number of piano trio concerts, including Roy Bogas’ Trio (Gualala Arts Center), Eric Zivian’s Trio (Occidental Chamber Series), the Sequoia Trio from SRJC and of course the preeminent Trio Navarro from Sonoma State. The Tilden Trio, the newest kids on the block, made an auspicious entrance July 10 at Oakmont and quickly demonstrated they belong at the top of their profession.

Formed in 2004 by former Juilliard classmates, the Tilden began their concert on a hot day before 140 mostly Oakmont residents with an appropriately warm reading of the Allegretto in B-Flat of Beethoven, WoO 39. There are touches of the “Spring” Violin Sonata here, and it was an auspicious opening, almost bucolic. The instrumental blend was smooth and remained so throughout the afternoon.

Violinist Sarn Oliver introduced the second work, a piece he wrote while living in the Berkeley hills, aptly titled “Tilden Park.” Composed in 2005, the piece continued the ambiance of the Beethoven, both in the gracious unfolding of short themes and in sticking to tonality. Oliver’s violin was often in a high register, though insistent chord projections by pianist June Choi Oh moved things along when needed. There was no hurry to get anywhere with the piece, built in sections rather than movements. There are hints of Barber in “Tilden Park,” all to the good, and it received an idiomatic interpretation. Cellist Peter Wyrick was outstanding. He’s not a flamboyant instrumentalist, but he produces a perfectly poised stream of sound, rich and warm; there isn’t a dry note in his bow. As the associate principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony, he’s a local treasure, and it would be a treat to hear him in recital.

The first half ended with the popular Ravel Trio in A Minor, written at the outset of the First World War, when the composer resided in the French Basque commune of Saint Jean de Luz. The percentage of masterpieces from Ravel’s pen is abnormally high, and the piano trio is no exception. It is an orchestral work, with rich textures and lots of coloristic effects. The first movement featured Wyrick’s expressive rubati and Oliver’s high violin line, with a wide vibrato. Much of the thematic material was reminiscent of Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite.” The movement received an elegant reading and a lovely, long ending fermata.

The Pantoum movement has tricky pizzicatos and an oriental thematic cast, and Choi Oh seemed to want a subdued sound throughout, perhaps too much so. The subdued tones continued into the Passacaile, a dignified movement with lush cello work, almost a threnody. The Tilden then jumped into the finale (Anime) with just the right blend of instrumental sparkle, especially the long trills from Oliver. The many ascending scales in the piano part could have been more distinct, but perhaps were of a piece of Choi Oh’s supportive and unassertive pianism.

Following intermission, the Tilden played the D Minor Trio by the 19th century Russian composer Anton Arensky. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a live performance of this favorite work—all the way back to Pennario, Heifetz and Piatigorsky in Los Angeles. Performers usually opt for either a smooth and fast approach (Beaux Arts Trio) or an old-fashioned, voice-leading Russian style (Borodin Trio). Happily, the Tilden opted for mostly the second rhetoric, playing the long first movement with a rich blending of the instruments, albeit with fleeting pitch problems from the violin. There is some Dvorak in this movement, more so in the ensemble rather than in the noble opening theme. Wonderful.

The Scherzo found Choi Oh providing the structure for a movement that does need clarity. The Elegia (Adagio) was sung in opulent colors by Wyrick, mostly pianissimo. In the concluding Allegro non troppo, a theme from the first movement suddenly reappears, cementing the cyclical nature inherent in much of the work. The Tilden was of one mind in this movement, and it was convincing. A student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Arensky was acknowledged to be under the influence of Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein. Rimsky-Korsakov thought his student would soon be forgotten, but the D Minor Trio, in the hands of the Tilden, belies his prediction.

A single encore was offered: Piazzola’s tango “Oblivion.” Surprisingly, this luxuriant piece has had previous Oakmont hearings, once as a chamber work and once as a piano solo. The audience, after the exuberance of the Arensky, was justifiably entranced.

The Tilden is a polished trio with a glowing, cohesive sound. With this one concert, it has vaulted into the front rank of chamber music groups appearing in the North Bay.