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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
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...
Opera
DONIZETTI'S DON PASQUALE HAS LYRICAL CHARM IN MENDOCINO FESTIVAL PRODUCTION
by Elly Lichenstein
Friday, July 14, 2017
Mendocino Music Festival's production of Donizetti's beloved opera buffa Don Pasquale - a one-night affair July 15 that was presented in an enormous tent on a greensward overlooking the Pacific Ocean - delighted an audience of more than 600 while doing some real justice to this frothy gem of commedi...
Recital
NOVACEK'S 2ND HALF TRIFECTA SCORES AT MENDO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Modern classical piano recitals are in two parts, with longer and perhaps more profound music proceeding perhaps shorter and usually stimulating lighter fare. In John Novacek’s July 13 Mendocino Music Festival recital the best playing came unexpectedly in the eight abbreviated works comprising the ...
Recital
STYLUS AND PLAYING FANTASTICUS IN YOUNG'S ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Organist Robert Young gave a wonderful tour through the stylus fantasticus (fantastic style) organ literature June 25 playing a recital on the Casavant organ at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Young recently became the organist at the Church and previously served for 20 years as Music D...
Chamber
KODALY DUO TRUMPS POPULAR MENDELSSOHN TRIO AT SLV CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
It’s not really a secret, but Sonoma County’s best chamber music series is one without much notoriety or publicity. The concerts at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village programs are only for residents and a few invited guests. Impresario Robert Hayden years ago honed his producer skills as founder of ...
Recital
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Symphony
SOVIETS INVADE WEILL HALL, TAKE NO PRISONERS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Bruno Ferrandis may be French, but he excels in Soviet repertoire. His Slavonic expertise was more than amply demonstrated at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, where the program began joyfully with Khachaturian’s ballet suite from “Masquerade,” surged forward with Prokofiev’s second violin co...
Recital
MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
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.