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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. ...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Sonoma State University Department of Music / Sunday, November 24, 2013
Trio Navarro: Roy Malan, violin; Jill Rachuy Brindel, cello; Marilyn Thompson, piano; Nancy Ellis, viola; Victor Romasevich, violin

(l to r) Ellis, Thompson, Brindel and Romasevich Backstage in Weill

DISCOVERY ANEW FOR THE NAVARRO TRIO IN WEILL

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 24, 2013

A major part of the Trio Navarro’s approach to chamber music has been discovery, as over many years they have explored novel (if not new or radical) corners of the small ensemble repertoire. November 24’s concert in Weill Hall was no exception as an unfamiliar piano quartet and trio were the evening’s most intriguing offerings.

Georgy Catoire’s lively and atmospheric A Minor Quartet opened the concert, and the Trio’s Victor Romasevich (violin), cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel and Marilyn Thompson (piano) were joined by violist Nancy Ellis. A frequent past guest, Ms. Ellis seamlessly blended with her colleagues in the unique fabric of Catoire’s music. The hothouse character of the quasi Wagner and late romantic score was in the first movement constantly reminiscent of Schoenberg’s orchestrated version of the tone poem Verklärte Nacht from 1917. This is surging and sexy music.

As in recent Navarro concerts Mr. Romasevich sat in for perennial stalwart Roy Malan, and elicited a different high string sound. His tone throughout the Catoire is not as wide and vibrato-laden as from Mr. Malan, but has a penetrating quality that easily stood out from the two lower string instruments. He also didn’t take several phrase-opening notes cleanly but as the work moved into the final Allegro he was sure-footed and sonorous. The ending gave hints of Ravel’s music and the unexpected tempo acceleration brought the 1916 piece to a ringing if not loud conclusion.

Mr. Romasevich was again in the forefront of a performance of Josif Andriasov’s C Minor Trio, Op. 7, as he had been a student of the composer and is a champion of Andriasov’s music. In quirky ways the 1957 Trio was aligned with some of the Catoire Quintet harmonies, although the Trio is a darker and more compelling work. In the first Allegro movement the ensemble playing was admirable, the violin line soaring often into the highest register even during several bucolic sections. The second movement had references to Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg and was idiomatically played, as were the slow march motives of the finale.

Both the Catoire and Andriasov works demand of the listener an acceptance of a string and piano fabric of sound rarely encountered, and might not be to everyone’s taste. I found all the music persuasive and energetically performed.

No such lack of aquaintence came with the concluding work, Schumann E-Flat Major Quartet, Op. 47. The tempos throughout the four-movement piece from 1842 were judicious and Ms. Thompson’s deft playing captured Schumann’s bittersweet melancholy. The dynamic Scherzo featured some of the best string playing of the concert, the violin notes carrying to the back of the sparsely-attended hall and Ms. Brindel’s cello line was opulent. In the Andante’s “heart on sleeve” principal theme Ms. Ellis carried on fetching duos with Ms. Brindel and Mr. Romasevich, and the slow counterpoint was beguiling. There was no rush to get anywhere and the four musicians were comfortable giving each of their colleagues a turn at voice leading.

The Vivace finale was played without undue hurry but with Ms. Thompson forging ahead several feverant climaxes were built and the Quartet’s conclusion was decisive