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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 ...
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...
Recital
PIANISTIC COMMAND IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, October 08, 2017
Nikolay Khozyainov’s Oct. 8 debut at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall was one of those rare moments in a young artist’s career when a performance approaches perfection. From the opening notes of Beethoven’s A-Flat Major Sonata (Op. 110) through a delightful recital ending transcription, the ...
RECITAL REVIEW
Mendocino Music Festival / Thursday, July 18, 2013
Robert Schwartz, piano

Pianist Robert Schwartz

LOVELY BACH AND CHOPIN IN SCHWARTZ' TRUNCATED MENDO FESTIVAL RECITAL

by Ed Reinhart
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Piano aficionados crowded into Mendocino's Preston Hall on July 18 to hear Robert Schwartz in recital, part of the piano series at the Mendocino Music Festival in Mendocino.

Mr. Schwartz opened with Bach’s Partita No. 4 in D Major, S. 828, and spoke to the audience to audience about the piece prior to performing. He described the D Major Key as "The Golden Key" because it seems so well-suited to triumphal and processional sounds. In the first movement Mr. Schwartz demonstrated an intimate understanding of the double-dotted figures which, while conveying a feeling of free-floating rhythmic variation, nonetheless require precision and discipline in order to capture the proper effect.

The second movement's elaborate demands on the right hand were performed flawlessly. It was a difficult technical hurdle that the pianist was able to master with seeming ease. Also notable was the conclusion of the fourth movement which Mr. Schwartz presented in a manner that was at the same time strong and yet delicate and nuanced. The concluding Gigue was brilliantly played, and the audience showed its appreciation with sustained applause after the final measures.

Next came Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op. 61. Ever the academic, Mr. Schwartz described Chopin's innovative relationship with the damper (sustain) pedal, which he used to develop harmonic overtones beneath the melody of this piece. The artist’s ability to capture several varieties of emotional expression in just a few bars, and to create a seamless flow from one phrase to another, was nothing short of amazing. He demonstrated a particular skill at combining delicacy and strength throughout the piece to such a degree that, in addition to giving a vigorous round of applause, some of the audience rose to their feet at the conclusion of the piece.

All probably would have continued to the conclusion of the afternoon's performance, but that was not to be. Mr. Schwartz’s performance came to an end prior to playing Book I of Debussy's Preludes. The room at Preston Hall had been closed up against Mendocino's chilly morning fog, but shortly after Mr. Schwartz began his performance the weather warmed, the sun came out, and the room became oppressively stuffy. Although his playing was of the highest caliber, Mr. Schwartz could be seen wiping his face and head with a handkerchief during Chopin’s late Polonaise. An announcement was made that the artist was not feeling well and would not be able to perform the Debussy.

While this was of course unhappy news for the audience, most were agreed that they still had been treated to an extraordinary, if truncated, concert experience.