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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
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.