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Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Recital
GLOVER'S ECLECTIC PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHT'S CINNABAR RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daniel Glover is arguably the busiest virtuoso pianist in the San Francisco Bay area, but rarely is heard in North Bay concerts. So 90 local pianophiles were anxious to hear him Feb. 17 in Petaluma’s charming small Cinnabar Theater, and they were rewarded with an eclectic program of sometimes unfam...
Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
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