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Chamber
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 08, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
Choral and Vocal
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
Chamber
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
Chamber
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
Chamber
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
BROWNE, PAREMSKI HEAD STELLAR CAST AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 09, 2020
The Feb. 9 performance by the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a healthy dose of 21st century music firmly bound to the 19th. Matt Browne’s first symphony, “The Course of Empire”—based on a series of five paintings by Thomas Cole, who founded the Hudson River School of American painting in the 1820s—emp...
FRENCH ORCHESTRAL MUSIC A FIRST FOR THE SO CO PHILHARMONIC
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Over many years the Sonoma County Philharmonic has played little French music, but perhaps this oversight was corrected Feb. 2 in a splendid all-Gallic program Feb. 1 and 2 in the Jackson Theater. Classical Sonoma reviewed the Sunday afternoon concert. In his eighth conducting season with the So C...
Symphony
POLISH MUSICAL WORLDS GLOW BRIGHT IN NFM WROCLAW WEILL PERFORMANCE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, February 01, 2020
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, gave a concert of enormous energy and emotional impact on Feb.1 to a small audience in Weill Hall. This orchestra has been a major cultural force in Poland since 1949, playing under many renowned conductors and has been committed to pr...
Opera
EXTRAVAGANT ARIAS IN NEXT GENERATION TENORS GALA VALLEJO CONCERT
by Mark Kratz
Saturday, February 01, 2020
“Beautiful, strange, and unnatural…” said orchestra conductor Thomas Conlin when speaking of the tenor voice. One of the coveted voice types of the opera world, the tenor voice is known for it’s piercing tones and soaring, unnatural high notes. The iconic image of the Pagliacci clown (in the famed...
RECITAL REVIEW
Ukiah Community Concert Association / Thursday, October 18, 2012
Frank Wiens, piano

Pianist Frank Wiens

PIANIST WIENS PLAYS NOVEL GRIEG PROGRAM AT UCCA OPENING CONCERT

by Ed Reinheart
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three Hundred people attended University of the Pacific faculty pianist Frank Wiens’ recital Oct. 18 at Ukiah High School, the first of the series for the 2012-2013 season of the Ukiah Community Concert Association.

Mr. Wiens, recently returned from Norway, played a program devoted mostly to Grieg, and in introductory remarks he described Grieg’s dilemma as a composer as being perceived in its own time as “too modern” by some and “too minimalist” by others.

Opening the recital were three Lyric Pieces: Notturno, Op. 54, and Little Bird and Butterfly from Op. 43. The common thread to all three works was the manner which Grieg was able to utilize piano technique to evoke the sounds of nature. The light trills in the right hand sound remarkably like a bird song. The E Minor Sonata, Op. 7, was next, performed with youthful vision and energy. In the first movement, Allegro moderato, Mr. Wiens played with depth and simplicity. A following Alla minuetto was given a refined Nordic approach and in the finale, Allegro molto, the pianist alternated a stoic rhythmic theme with a chorale and played the big chords with accuracy and vitality.

A second set of three songs followed, including the dance-like Humoreske, Op. 6, No. 3; Bridal Procession from “Pictures from Folk Life,” Op. 19, No. 2; and Norwegian Peasant Dances from “Slätter,” Op. 72, No. 4. Mr. Wiens told the audience that the term “Humoresque” describes a composition that has been derived from music “in the folk manner”.

The concert’s first part concluded with the rarely-heard Agitato, an early work from 1865 that Mr. Wiens described as “Grieg’s most modern voice.”

After intermission Mr. Wiens played a few pieces by other composers, then returned to Grieg with five pieces from the Holberg Suite, Op.40: Preludium, Sarabande, Gavotte, Air and Rigaudon . He concluded with three more well-known Lyric Pieces, March of the Dwarfs, Op. 54, No. 2; To the Spring, Op. 43. No. 6; and the popular Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Op. 65, No. 6. The pianist explained Grieg’s concept for “Wedding Day” as a description of his own wedding day in 1867, when uninvited guests kept arriving until the planned number more than doubled. Consequently, the piece grows and becomes more boisterous as it develops.

Mr. Wiens’ performance was generously received by the audience which gave him a standing ovation, and he played one encore, Rachmaninoff’s brilliant and sonorous Prelude in B Flat, Op. 23.

Before the performance the audience heard an interview with Ukiah resident Lillian Vogel, 103, conducted by local cellist Joel Cohen. Ms. Vogel shared some of her secrets for living a full life, starting with her membership on her high school debate team. She cited a healthy sense of curiosity as a recipe for longevity, and concluded her remarks by presenting an original poem that was warmly received.