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Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now it seems to be on almost every...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church, as the performers...
Chamber
TRIO NAVARRO'S POPULAR FARE IN SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Long time Classical Sonoma readers may recall many Trio Navarro concert reviews that lauded their virtuosity and interest in rarely played repertoire. The April 8 concert in Schroeder Hall before 85 chamber music fans featured sterling performances but had a mostly conservative menu of popular trio...
Recital
KENNER'S ALL POLISH RECITAL HAS PADEREWSKI RARITY
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, April 08, 2018
Kevin Kenner’s April 8 recital at Dominican University’s Angelico Hall had been advertised as all-Chopin, but he added a detour into another seminal Polish composer-pianist, Paderewski. Several of Mr. Kenner’s teachers were Poles, he speaks Polish, and he navigated at the piano both composers’ deman...
Symphony
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VOICE AT SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, April 08, 2018
In an April 8 Santa Rosa Symphony concert filled to the brim with instruments--electric violin, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard samplers, harps, piano and myriad drums, gongs and bells, to say nothing of winds, brass and strings--the instrument that came out on top was the hum...
Chamber
VOM FESTIVAL TRIO CHARMS WITH CHAMBER MIX, AND HUMMEL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, March 31, 2018
At the core of the group of Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VOM) musicians is an ensemble of trios and duos, and as a trio March 31 Festival founders cellist Tanya Tomkins and pianist Eric Zivian joined British violinist Monica Huggett for a chamber music concert in the Green Music Center’s Schro...
Choral and Vocal
GOOD FRIDAY REQUIEM FILLS INCARNATION
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 30, 2018
Maurice Duruflé’s short and intense Requiem has been heard in Santa Rosa’s Church of the Incarnation before, but the March 30 Good Friday performance was stripped down in the number of performers, combining Cantiamo Sonoma and the St. Cecilia Choir with musical underpinning from organist Robert Youn...
Symphony
HAMELIN'S HUSKY MOOD IN SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Convention in piano recitals has the artist coming on stage and playing. Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin walked on Schroeder Hall’s stage March 25 and didn’t play for six minutes, chatting with the audience. A risk for some artists. Then most programs include a contemporary or rarely play...
Recital
VIRTUOSIC VARIATIONS IN MORGAN'S SCHROEDER ORGAN RECITAL
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Organist Robert Huw Morgan’s artistry spun through the web of early variation form in a Mar. 18 recital on Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh organ. Mr. Morgan, Stanford University’s resident organist, performs a wide range of repertoire, but as he said in comments to the audience, he loves when h...
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.