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Recital
HOME RECITAL BACH COMPLETES HOLIDAY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 30, 2017
The just closing 2017 year was a calamity for many, but locally in music there were joys galore, and it was fitting Dec. 30 have the balm of two Bach’s violin sonatas in a private Guerneville home recital hosted by the eminent musician Sonia Tubridy. Violinist Richard Heinberg joined Ms. Tubridy in...
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 WITH 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 REVIEW
Green Music Center / Sunday, March 31, 2013
Trio Navarro and Friends. Roy Malan, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel,cello, William Klingelhoffer, horn; Natalie Parker, clarinet; Marilyn Thompson, piano

Brian Wilson, William Klingelhofffer, Roy Malan, Marilyn Thompson In Weill March 31

THE FAMILIAR, THE RARE AND THE NEW

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sonoma State's resident Trio Navarro has a well-earned reputation for eclectic programming, and in their Easter Sunday concert in Weill Hall, they chose the familiar, the rare and the new.

The new was SSU faculty composer Brian Wilson's "And Ezra the Scribe Stood Upon a Pulpit," a trio for horn, violin and piano. It proved to be a tantalizing 14-minute score, beginning with a rumble and a descending sets of chords, with William Klingelhoffer's delicately audible horn emitting hushed staccato notes. The piece's air of mystery suited the references to the Torah, and it had insistent rhythms throughout.

Violinist Roy Malan had extended solo passages in sections reminiscent of jazz motifs, often over an Alberti bass figure from pianist Marilyn Thompson. The work ended with the violin the top of its range, to eerie effect. Similar to all of Mr. Wilson's music I have heard, "Ezra" is deftly written and uses instrumental timbres effectively to create absorbing music.

Brahms' familiar E Flat Horn Trio, Op. 40, came next in a capable performance that never quite soared in the large Weill space. Mr. Klingelhoffer played in a seamless style that melded well with the violin and piano, but the sonic fabric in both the Scherzo and Adagio movements was sporadically muddy. As was the case with one of the Trio's previous performances in Weill, the piano sound was indistinct and tended to recede into the mix, moving the violin to the forefront.

The thick and muted sonics in the Brahms may have been a byproduct of the size of the crowd. With only 150 people in Weill's 1,400 seats, the sound lacked focus. Possible solutions to this sonic anomaly include shutting the east-side curtains, installing a shell, or moving chamber music concerts to the soon-to-be-completed Schroeder Hall.

Curiously, the acoustics of the concluding work--Vaughan Williams' rarely hear early Quintet in D--were distinct. Clarinetist Natalie Parker and cellist Jill Brindel joined the three other musicians to play this four-movement composition, which is long on bucolics but short on concise structure. Fragments of themes abound, and the march-like Andantino features a lovely tune, but the overall impression of this 1898 work is one of youth and more important things to come.