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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...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
Krechkovsky-Loucks Duo / Friday, August 23, 2013
Iryna Krechkovsky, violin; Kevin Kwan Loucks, piano

Iryna Krechkovsky and Kevin Kwan Loucks

KRECHKOVSKY-LOUCKS DUO RETURNS WITH 3 SONATAS AND A MELODIC MÉLODIE

by Terry McNeill
Friday, August 23, 2013

In a surprise for Sonoma County chamber music, a scintillating piano and violin duo has seemingly become a yearly visitor. Appearing August 23 for a second time in Santa Rosa’s First Presbyterian Church, the Krechkovsky-Loucks Duo moved a standing room audience of 300 to wild applause in a benefit for the Living Room shelter program.

The concert of three sonatas began with Debussy’s last work, the wonderful G Minor Sonata from 1917. A brief piece of 13 minutes, the sonata demands refined musicianship. The playing of both violinist Iryna Krechkovsky and pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks was deftly animated and at times vehement. The first two movements, especially the beguiling Fantasque et léger, were suitably atmospheric and harmonically ambiguous, but all was swept away in a brilliant très animé conclusion in G Major. Instrumental balances were excellent, and Ms. Krechkovsky has a fluid spiccato bow technique and subtle portamento. It was powerful playing, and the audience, here and throughout the concert, happily clapped after each movement.

Janacek’s four-movement Sonata from 1914, was likely a first hearing for most in the church, unless they attended last season’s splendid performance in Weill by Vadim Repin and Andre Korobienikov. The violinist used a score for the only time in the concert, perhaps in homage to rugged Czech nationalist style and the broad tempos she selected. The opening con moto was played with passion that was suited to the episodic character, and the lyrical Ballada had lovely bucolic moments, the final note from the violin’s high E sailed out of the church into the night.

Aggressive playing was the norm in the final two sections with quick thematic thrusts from both artists, the main themes banal at first and resolving to a cogent and pungent conclusion.

In Brahms’ D Minor Sonata (Op. 108), the Duo dug into the composer’s unusual rhythmic features; but in the frequent pedal point, the piano became too loud, and the bass section was often indistinct. Ms. Krechkovsky widened her vibrato in the expressive Adagio and played with accurate double stops and occasional, albeit minor, pitch variation. The piano part continued to cover the violin in the Presto finale, though in boisterous abandon and thematic trading, the Duo was resplendent.

Though no encore was offered, the Duo did perform an extra piece at the beginning of the second half, Massenet’s pensive “Melodie” from the opera “Thais.” The audience seemed to be mesmerized with the captivating playing that lacked even an ounce of schmaltz.