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Recital
SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Lee Ormasa
Friday, April 21, 2017
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
Symphony
HULKING MAHLER "TITAN" AT SO CO PHIL'S SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 08, 2017
A composer’s first symphony rarely gives a clear indication of what beautiful complexities will follow over the years. Early Mozart and Tchaikovsky are examples, and the big exceptions to this axiom are the “firsts” of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. Tackling Mahler ‘s D Major Symphony (No. 1,...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
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...
RECITAL REVIEW
MasterCard Performance Series / Sunday, October 13, 2013
Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone; Natalia Katukova, pianist

Pianist Natalia Katyukova and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in Weill

TERFEL'S HEROIC SOUND BEGUILES LARGE WEILL HALL AUDIENCE

by Colin Godwin
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weill Hall hosted a song recital October 13 by bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, with pianist Natalia Katyukova.

The first half consisted of songs based on poems by John Masefield, composed by Ireland, Warlock, Frederick Keel and Quilter. Following intermission, Mr. Terfel sang lieder of Schumann and Schubert, plus songs from the Celtic Isles. I approached this recital with great curiosity, being only familiar with Mr. Terfel's artistry through his role as Woton in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

During his first selection, Ireland’s blustering "Sea Fever", Mr. Terfel exhibited his ability to form the song to his expression with subtle changes of tempo and volume while not limiting him to a static stance. He moved easily, shifting his body as he sung, owning more of the stage than just the small space next to the piano. His big, forceful and warm voice dominated the hall, which was less than full with some seating remaining on the main floor in addition to the upper areas.

Mr. Terfel does not have a compact voice. It has breadth and depth with an openness and force that seemed to embrace the hall. In one section of a piece he lifted up to a high note with much less volume, and it seemed weak and I wondered if he was tired. Later on, especially in Schubert’s "Litanei," sung very softly, his voice was full and supported. The progression of the songs were varied enough to present a sense of freshness with each.

The singer was a such good actor, using body and facial expressions, that one didn't really have to know the words.

Ms. Katyukova dove into "Sea Fever," adequately balancing and following Mr. Terfel’s leads. As the program progressed she became more of a co performer than a supporting pianist, especially in Schumann’s "Mein Wagen rollet langsam," which had a long postlude. Ms. Katyukova played with a sensitive touch in all the selections, showing her ability to communicate as a soloist while maintaining a connection with Mr. Terfel. They increasingly showed their enjoyment of each other and in what they were creating.

There was a slight problem with the audience. In their exuberant response to the performers, Mr. Terfel had to encourage applause be held to after the sections consisting of several pieces rather than for each one. Finally the audience was able to comply.

Something that I'd not seen before, in the last verse of Schubert’s "Die Forelle," Mr. Terfel sang with a clenched jaw, teeth almost touching. It was very effective in presenting the feelings of anger: "Und ich mit regem Blute". During the Celtic traditional "Loch Lomond" Mr. Terfel stopped and encouraged the audience to sing the recurring stanza. Not being satisfied with the quality of the response, he had the audience stand and sing. The quality and volume of song was much greater.

There were three encores. The first was sung very fast and in a whisper: "Beware, take care, of the green eyed dragon...." The second was "Home On The Range" followed by a comic song "The Gas Man," sung in the style of a pub song. The audience loved it and left the hall smiling.