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Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
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
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
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 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.