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Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
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.