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Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
Symphony
FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARACTERS OF THE BAROQUE
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, known as Akamus, played a Weill Hall concert March 12 in a program called "Foreign Affairs -Characters of the Baroque.” The ensemble, that began in 1984, has 15 musicians led by concert master Bernhard Forck. Attired in elegant black with red accents, ranging from tie...
Recital
MUSCULAR PIANISM DOMINATES MILL VALLEY CHAMBER SOCIETY RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Piano recitals since the beginning of the genre open with finger pieces - Scarlatti or Soler Sonatas, Bach, a Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue or perhaps Mozart or Haydn. Sarah Daneshpour’s March 12 opening work at the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society series abruptly avoided the norm with the 10-minut...
Recital
NOVEL HAYDN AND SCHUMANN IN YARDEN'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Israeli pianist Einav Yarden has been a frequent Sonoma County visitor, playing private recitals for Spring Lake Village and Concerts Grand, and twice performing for Music at Oakmont. The Berlin-based artist returned to Oakmont’s Berger Auditorium March 9 with a program that was neither for connois...
Chamber
CONSUMMATE ENSEMBLE FROM THE MIRÓ IN WEILL
by Sonia Tubridy and Nicki Bell
Sunday, March 05, 2017
A March 5 Weill hall audience of 350 leaned in to share an intimate musical space and to hear the Miró String Quartet’s sterling concert. Starting with Haydn's Op. 20, No. 4, the four musicians seemed to want listeners to be enveloped in their music. The Miró plays with the feat of being four dist...
Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
MUSIC AND ART MELD IN ZUCKERMAN TRIO CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Feb. 24 Weill Hall concert by the Pinchas Zuckerman Trio juxtaposed formidable music making with palpable associations about visual art. Brahms’ C Minor "Sonatensatz” (Scherzo) is a short youthful work for violin and piano, and was an opening call to action. Lively and vigorous playing alternated...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
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.