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Chamber
EXAMPLARY QUARTET PLAYING IN MARIN GARDEN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Taped video concerts have pretty much dominated the recent fare for classical music fans, but sporadic live music making can still be found in the North Bay with outdoor chamber music. Of course with the obligatory social distancing and often decorative facial masks. Four San Francisco Opera Orc...
Chamber
VIDEO CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LINCOLN CENTER IN GREEN'S BROADCAST
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Along with hosting its resident the Santa Rosa Symphony, Weill Hall has contracted to produce sporadic virtual programs of classical music, and began Oct. 17 with a charming three-part concert from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Hosted with comely introductions by CMSLC di...
Symphony
THRILLING SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY PERFORMANCE IN AN EMPTY WEILL HALL
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Viewers of the Santa Rosa Symphony’s inaugural socially distanced YouTube concert on Oct. 11 could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (A Masked Ball), given that the string players in the opening shot all wore black masks. The sole excepti...
Symphony
BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala vide...
SONGS AND ECHOES OF HOME IN AIZURI QUARTET CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 8, 2020
From the first richly layered harmonies of Dvořák’s Cypresses, the Aizuri Quartet held the March 8th audience at Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church in thrall. The church was more than half full, a good crowd considering present anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus. Taking precautions, the M...
COLORFUL BORN BACH AT AGAVE BAROQUE'S SCHROEDER HALL CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bach’s obituary records that “Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” Agave Baroque presented their Feb. 28 concert, Born Bach, as a partial musical story of several generations in this rem...
ECLECTIC VIOLIN AND PIANO WORKS IN VIRTUOSIC MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Blending virtuosity with sublime artistry, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and pianist Wu Qian gave the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience many thrills February 23, performing four muscular and soulful works by four composers from four countries: de Falla, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Grieg. T...
PREMIER OF KAIZEN AND DRAMATIC MOZART HIGHLIGHT ECHO CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, February 16, 2020
As concertgoers took their seats in San Anselmo’s First Presbyterian Church for ECHO Chamber Orchestra’s February 16 program, they were surprised to see at center stage two bass drums, a tom-tom, bongos, high hat and cymbals. It was the occasion of the world premiere of "Kaizen," composed and perf...
BEETHOVEN'S VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT IN RAC SEBASTOPOL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, February 14, 2020
Continuing a season of Redwood Arts Council successes, the Kouzov Duo performed an eclectic Valentine’s Day concert in Sebastopol’s Community Church before an audience of 125. Beethoven’s charming Op. 66 Variations on Mozart’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from the opera the Magic Flute was a bouncy ...
LUSH BACH PERFORMANCE IN DENK'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Memorable artistic interpretations of musical masterpieces are often at extremes, and with the Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (WTC - Book I) that Jeremy Denk played in Weill Hall Feb. 13, the pianist was only sporadically at unique or ebullient musical ends. But his playing wasn’t exactly at opposite...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Music at Oakmont / Thursday, January 9, 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 9, 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.