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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
CHAMBER REVIEW

Antonio Iturrioz

ITURRIOZ AND URSULINE AN UNEASY MIX

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 13, 2008

Antonio Iturrioz may not be a familiar name in local classical music households, but he has quietly become the most active solo pianist in the North Bay. He also seems to be intrigued by rarely performed virtuoso music—works other pianists avoid at every turn—and he is a scholar of Leopold Godowsky’s life and art.

July 13 found Iturrioz playing a benefit for Restorative Justice, a support group in the criminal detention system, in a dormitory at Santa Rosa’s Ursuline High School. Ninety people attended the concert, which was preceded by a tasty ice cream social. The dormitory was not an ideal spot for Bach and Strauss, the audience being sprinkled with noisy youngsters yearning to be outside, and often getting there.

Likewise, Iturrioz was not at his best the entire afternoon, with a combination of factors derailing a successful musical experience. A key part of the problem was the school’s piano, a 112-year-old Knabe concert grand. This 90-note behemoth was once a great orchestral piano, with power to spare—but those days are dim history, and artistic control and sonic projection were mostly impossible. A fine rebuilder should take on this project. Think of a great Victorian San Francisco mansion that desperately needs plumbing, a new roof, floors and lots of colorful paint.

Iturrioz also chose to adopt such slow tempos in most of the program’s pieces, perhaps as a result of the uncooperative instrument, that he was seldom able to sustain a cogent music line. He also found small breaks and “hesitations” in sections of Chopin’s Aeolian Harp Etude, Op. 25, No. 1, and the Bishop-Godowsky Home Sweet Home, which diminished rhythmic vigor and continuity.

More successful were the Schubert-Godowsky Litany, which had a wonderful lyrical pulse, and the dramatic work that ended the first half, Liszt’s Legend No. 2, “St. Francis Walking On The Waves.” Here the broken left-hand octaves had powerful impact, with Iturrioz’s bravura technique carrying the day.

There was one encore, Lecuona’s Noche Azul, played with seductive tone colors and chaste phrasing.

The writer produces Concerts Grand recitals, where Mr. Iturrioz will perform on April 12, 2009.