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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
REVIEW

Cellist Sébastian Gingras

QUARTET WITH PIANO AT SEASON-CLOSING OAKMONT CHAMBER CONCERT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Completing a rich 2012 season, the Oakmont Concert Series presented a rare quartet concert Dec. 13 featuring the San Francisco Chamber Players. Marin pianist June Choi Oh, a frequent Oakmont performer with her Tilden Trio, brought along an admirable string company to an audience of 150 in Berger Auditorium.

A Telemann transcription in D Minor opened the concert with march-like playing in a pure Baroque style, the violinist Dan Carlson providing lithe phrasing over the piano’s continuo line. Cellist Sébastian Gingras paced the lively Vivace and the ensemble played the sad but lyrical Largo with minimal vibrato and exact intonation. The unison playing in the finale was exact.

Beethoven’s early E-Flat Major Quartet, Op. 16, came next and was another transcription, the 1797 work originally written for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. The present version was arranged by the composer. It’s idiomatic writing, long on repeated phrases and fits the string instruments perfectly. In the Andante Cantabile the piano part becomes more prominent with faint echoes of the Archduke Trio of 15 years later. Ms. Oh played cleanly the many scale passages on the Rondo finale, never covering the strings, and it was an aggressive group approach with slashing bows and proficient ensemble. A lovely work elegantly played.

Following intermission the ambiance sharply changed with Schumann Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47, one of the most popular of all piano quartets. The SFCP began tentatively but quickly delivered the Zwickau master’s surging romanticism and ever-present legato. There was equal distribution of instrumental interest in the Allegro Ma Non Troppo and Ms. Oh adopted a period flourish, adding a short hesitation at the beginning of descending scale passages. The concluding instrumental sforzandos were abrupt and exciting.

The Scherzo, beginning with a toccata and repose sections, was well played as was the glorious and expressive Andante Cantabile. Here violist Jonathan Vinocour had subtle duets with Mr. Carlson, and Mr. Gingras’ melodic projection was graceful and at times forceful.

The Quintet’s finale (Vivace) playing was contrapuntally clear but never brawny, and as in the entire work the prudent execution had the requisite fervor and beauty to elicit a standing ovation.

Vishnu Vishnu contributed to this review.