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Chamber
VANHAL QUARTET AT VOM FESTIVAL DISCOVERY AT HANNA CENTER
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, July 15, 2018
A near-capacity crowd of 220 filled the Sonoma Hanna Boys Center Auditorium July 15 for the opening concert of the fourth Valley of the Moon Music Festival. This Festival presents gems of the Classical and early Romantic periods performed on instruments of the composer’s era, which presents a few ch...
Opera
SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL
by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our...
Symphony
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
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.