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Choral and Vocal
A SEASONAL MESSIAH WITH BALANCE AND HEFT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The mid-December concert season seems for jaded reviewers to invariably include a Messiah performance, and perhaps a Messiah in a long string of similar and mundane performances. This was decidedly not the case when San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque mounted Handel’s eminent three-part 1742 Orato...
Symphony
ANDREW GRAMS FINDS HIS GROOVE SR SYMPHONY IN RACHMANINOFF
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Last Sunday’s Santa Rosa Symphony concert featured two elegant and refined guests: music director candidate Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Both displayed dazzling technique and consummate artistry, but Goodyear was the more consistent of the two. Some of Grams’ inconsistency may have st...
Symphony
SONIC SPLASH AND ENSEMBLE DELICACY AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Franck’s wonderful D Minor Symphony is a rarity on today’s concert programs, and I can’t remember a North Bay performance in many years from any of the six resident area orchestras. So it was good to see the Sonoma County Philharmonic feature it in their Nov. 18 and 19 concerts at Santa Rosa High S...
Chamber
TETZLAFF QUARTET'S MASTERY IN MOZART AND SCHUBERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 11, 2017
German violin virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff presented a critically successful Weill Hall recital Feb. 18, and returned to the same venue Nov. 11 with his admirable Tetzlaff Quartet in a program of Berg, Schubert and Mozart. Clarity of ensemble has always been a hallmark of this Quartet, and contrapun...
Chamber
RAVISHING SHORT OPERAS FROM FRENCH TROUPE IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 10, 2017
Standard Weill Hall fall and winter classical programs are pretty routine – symphonic music, chamber, solo recitals – so it was a rare treat Nov. 10 when just two works from the 17th century were gloriously presented. With such specialized compositions, period performers with commanding authenticit...
Symphony
MEI-ANN CHEN PROVES A WORTHY CONTENDER FOR SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY CONDUCTING POST
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 05, 2017
These days the focus of Santa Rosa Symphony concerts is as much on the conductor candidates as on the soloists. This past weekend’s concerts featured the second of those candidates, Mei-Ann Chen, along with pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, each of whom cut an imposing figure on the stage. Chen is diminut...
Symphony
TO RUSSIA WITH BRILLIANCE
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 03, 2017
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s high velocity and frequently slam-bang virtuosity came to the Green Music Center last year with a thrilling and equally perplexing solo performance. So many in Weill Nov. 3 were interested to hear if his pianistic style would mesh well in a concerto, and with a fine ...
Symphony
THUNDEROUS TCHAIKOVSKY FOURTH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
North Coast weather is turning cool and the nights longer, ideal for Tchaikovsky’s big boned symphonies. The Santa Rosa Symphony recently programmed the Fourth (F Minor Symphony) as did the San Francisco Symphony. Norman Gamboa’s Sonoma County Philharmonic just played the Tchaikovsky First, forgoi...
Recital
RESPIGHI'S PUNGENT SONATA HIGHLIGHTS KENNEY-GUTMAN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Respighi’s B Minor Violin Sonata seems never to gain conventional repertoire status. Perhaps the great Heifetz recording is intimidating, and I can recall over many years just two local performances: Jason Todorov and William Corbett-Jones years go in Newman, and a titanic reading in March by Anne S...
Chamber
MIRÓ QUARTET AND JEFFERY KAHANE PROVIDE MUSICAL RELIEF FOR FIRE-RAVAGED SONOMA COUNTY
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Sonoma County’s Green Music Center has stood silent but unscathed the past few weeks as the county begins to recover from the devastating fires that began on the evening of October 8, only a few hours after a Santa Rosa Symphony concert in the Music Center. Since then, concerts by the Symphony, the ...
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.