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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.