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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
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.