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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, January 09, 2014
Boreal Trio: Uriel Vanchestein,clarinet; Juan-Miguel Hernandez, viola; Wonny Song, piano

Boreal Trio

BOREAL AURORA RISES OVER OAKMONT

by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 09, 2014

Opening the new year Jan. 9 at Music at Oakmont the Boreal Trio played a program of two diverse and distinct parts, the emphasis on charm rather than drama.

The bucolic first half had lyrical and low-volume works by Schumann and Mozart, the latter's "Kegelstatt" Trio in E-Flat Major (K. 498) setting a tranquil tone. This trio doesn't have a menacing note throughout, but in past performances I have heard the piano and clarinet lines covering the viola. Here Juan-Miguel Hernandez' viola line was always audible, often in fetching duos with clarinetist Uriel Vanchestein. Occasionally Mr. Vanchestein sounded a bit reserved, but in many ways that approach served the serene music well.

The quiet ambiance continued in Schumann's Op. 132 "Fairy Tales," the four short sections brimming with romantic yearning. Pianist Wonny Song played the day's first real forte in the dramatic Lebhaft und sehr markiert movement, the most Brahms-like part of the 1853 composition. The Boreal's playing reached a peak in the sweet third section, a love song with unison instrumental lines and a sublime and tender ending.

Ensemble playing in the concluding Lebhaft, sehr markiert was excellent, tying together a rarely-played work of elegance and nostalgia.

Five of Bruch's eight Op. 83 Pieces were played after intermission and the rich Romanticism again recalled Brahms' autumnal works and harmonic language. The orchestral and relentless Allegro Agitato opened the set with flair, moving to a Nachtgesang (night song) where nearing the end the viola handed off the melodic line to the clarinet, with Mr. Vanchestein playing a deft descending and ascending chromatic scale in perfect legato. These were more substantial pieces than those of the first half, clearly so in the adventuresome harmonies of the Moderato that looked back to both Brahms and Schumann, and the bouncy and effervescent Allegro Vivace finale. Mr. Song was had a greater role here, sewing together the string and wind lines with bouncy rhythms.

Though the Bruch was for me the day's highlight, Alfred Uhl's neoclassical Trio "Kleines Konzert" from 1938 came close. It was a bit of a cold shower after the previous works with a bigger piano part, many off-beat accents and a snazzy viola and clarinet duet in the spooky Allegro con Brio's cadenza. It was café music played with grace. A slow march morphed into a lament, with Mr. Song sounding chimes with his left hand and Mr. Hernandez playing uniquely with the tip of his bow on the viola's C and G strings. In the concluding Vivo, the Boreal took a fast tempo and played the virtuosic and showy movement with aplomb. A sudden forte chord closed an exciting performance.

The encore, Mr. Vanchestein's "Moment Musical," was announced as a study in the style of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, but I could find neither Russian composer's music in the short romantic study of swirling clarinet phrases. It was a bon-bon to a light and pleasurably non-traditional musical meal.